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NPAFC Technical Report No. 6

Migration Patterns of Sockeye Salmon in the Bering Sea Discerned from Stock Composition Estimates of Fish Captured during BASIS Studies

Christopher Habicht1, Natalia V. Varnavskaya2, Tomonori Azumaya3, Shigehiko Urawa4, Richard L. Wilmot5, Charles M. Guthrie III5, and James E. Seeb1 1 Gene Conservation Laboratory, Commercial Fisheries Division, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 333 Raspberry Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99418, U.S.A. 2 Kamchatka Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (KamchatNIRO), 18, Naberezhnaya Street, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 683602, Russia 3 Hokkaido National Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research Agency, 116 Katsurakoi, Kushiro, Hokkaido 085-0802, Japan 4 National Salmon Resources Center, 2-2 Nakanoshima, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-0922, Japan 5 U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, NMFS, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, Auke Bay Laboratory, 11305 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801, USA


Sockeye, salmon, Bering Sea, microsatellite, single nucleotide polymorphism, migration, genetic stock identification, BASIS

The Bering Sea provides Fig. 1. UPGMA tree using Cavali-Sforza and Edward distances based on 13 major feeding habitats for microsatellites and 2 SNPs for collections of sockeye salmon spawning in tributaries to the Bering Sea. Baseline stocks were pooled into six reporting groups and are sockeye salmon stocks symbolized with colored letters. originating from Asia and North America. Little is known about Ocean River 2001 Reporting Groups Sandy Lake 2000 the migratory patterns of specific Nelson River 2000 Moffet Lagoon 2002 Koktuli River 2000 Stuyakuk River 2000 stocks throughout the Bering North Alaska Peninsula King Salmon R. Nush 2001 Mulchatna River, site A2001 Upper Nushagak-slough 2001 Sea. A better understanding of Eastern Bristol Bay Tikchik River 2001 Agulukpak River 2001 Agulowok River 2001 these patterns may clarify the W estern Bristol Bay Lake Kulik, Wood R. 2001 Lynx Lake 2002 Bear Creek, L. Aleknagik 2001 mechanisms of salmon Norton Sound M iddle Creek 2003 Francis Creek 2003 Chauekuktuli Lake Beaches 2001 population response to recent Kam chatka River Nuyakuk Lake Beaches 2000 Allen River Beach 2000 Kogrukluk River 2001 Kuril Lake environmental changes. Grosvenor Tributary 2003 Hardscrabble Creek 2003 Idavain Creek 2000 We developed a DNA Margot Creek 2000 American Creek 2001 American Creek 2000 Gibraltar River 2000 baseline for 13 microsatellite and Dennis Creek 2000 DreamCreek 2001 Southeast Creek 2000 two single nucleotide Lower Talaric Creek 2000 Nick N. Creek 2000 Copper River 2000 polymorphism (SNP) markers Knutson Bay Beach 2000 Finger Beach 2000 Chinkelyes Creek 2000 from collections of Triangle Island 2000 Flat Island 2000 W oody Island 2001 approximately 96 sockeye Ugashik Creek 2001 Deer Creek 2001 Kejulik River 2001 salmon each from 80 spawning Ruth Lake outlet 2000 Becharof Creek 2000 Cabin Creek 2000 locations draining into the Bering Ugashik Narrows 2000 Ugashik Outlet 2000 Landlocked Creek 2001 Iliamna River late 1999 Sea and southeastern Sea of Tazimina River 2001 Newhalen River 2002 Goodnews W 2001 eir Okhotsk. Data from the same set Kulilk River 2001 Kanektok River 2002 Battle River 2001 of markers was collected from Moraine Creek 2001 Up-a-tree Creek 2000 Headwaters Creek late 2001 2,300 sockeye salmon captured Headwaters Creek early 2000 Upper Tlikakila River 2001 Chulitna Bay Beaches 1999 by the RV TINRO, RV Kaiyo Kijik River 2001 Little Kijik River 2001 Kijik Lake Beach 2000 maru, FV Great Pacific and FV Gechiak Lake 2000 Kamchatka River early 1998 Kamchatka River late 1998 Sea Storm during the summers of Kitigina River 1998 Hapiza River late 1998 Hapiza River early 1998 2002 and 2003. Allocation of Ozernaya Bay 2000 Olada Bay 2000 Vichenkiya River 2000 Bear River Weir Late 2000 these mixture samples to stock of Bear River Weir Early 2000 Summer Bay Lake 1999 W haleback Creek 2002 origin enabled a better Glacial Lake 2004 Salmon Lake 2001 Telaquana Lake 2003 understanding of the relative distribution of Alaskan and 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.0 Russian stocks during these months. The DNA baseline provided the power to resolve 15 reporting groups and was particularly powerful at distinguishing among populations from six reporting groups: Kuril Lake, Kamchatka River, North Alaska

All correspondence should be addressed to C. Habicht. e-mail: [email protected]


NPAFC Technical Report No. 6

Habicht et al. (2005)

Peninsula, eastern Bristol Bay, western Bristol Bay and Norton Sound (Fig. 1). Mixture samples were grouped by geographic location (using features of the ocean floor including: the northeastern continental shelf, the Bowers Ridge north of the Aleutian Islands and the Shirshov Ridge in the west; Fig. 2), seasonal timing (August, September and October) and age (one ocean and two-plus ocean) and subjected to mixed-stock analyses. The most comprehensive data available throughout the Bering Sea were for August. Stock distributions in August show the highest proportions of western-originating stocks on the western side of the Bering Sea and the highest proportions of eastern-originating stocks on the eastern side (Fig. 3). When all samples are taken in combination, the eastern Bristol Bay stock is the most abundant reporting group. The next most common reporting group is composed of western Bristol Bay stocks. These results are consistent with expectations based on the proportions of sockeye salmon produced within the five regions (Bugaev 2004; Alaska Department of Fish and Game unpublished data). Although Russian sockeye salmon stocks contribute less than half of the stock mixtures in every sample except the most southwesterly sample, their presence in samples from the central Bering Sea basin and Aleutian Islands indicates that they migrate eastward at least half way across the Bering Sea. Alaskan sockeye appear to migrate throughout the Bering Sea and make up, almost exclusively, the stock proportions on the northeastern Continental Shelf including the western side near Russia. Stock distributions divided into ages one and two-plus ocean fish showed generally higher proportions of Russian stocks in the two-plus ocean mixtures than in the one ocean mixtures (Figs. 4 and 5). This pattern may indicate that larger proportions of two-plus ocean fish from Alaska migrate south into the North Pacific relative to stocks originating from Russia or that Russian one ocean fish are in the North Pacific and migrate north as two-plus ocean age. Of the immature fish captured on the northeastern continental shelf, 89% were one ocean fish, so stock compositions could only be calculated on this age group (these were again almost exclusively Alaska-origin stocks). This pattern may indicate that one ocean fish favor different environmental variables than two-plus ocean fish and that Russian one ocean fish generally do not utilize the northeastern continental shelf.

Fig. 2. Geographic features of the ocean floor in the Bering Sea used to divide samples of immature sockeye salmon captured during the BASIS cruises in 2002 and 2003 for mixed-stock analysis using genetic markers. Fig. 3. Stock proportions of immature sockeye salmon sampled from throughout the Bering Sea during August of 2002 and 2003. Baseline stocks were pooled into six reporting groups and are symbolized with colored ovals. Pale ovals under the pies represent the general area where stock mixtures were captured and pie colors correspond to reporting group colors.

Shirshov Ridge

Co nt in en ta lS

Norton Sound

he lf


N=109 Western Bristol Bay

Bowers Ridge

Eastern Bristol Bay Kamchatka River N=223 N=88 N=124

N=120 Kuril Lake N=270


Fig. 4. Stock proportions of 1-ocean immature sockeye salmon sampled from throughout the Bering Sea during August, September and October of 2002 and 2003. "NS" indicates insufficient samples to estimate mixture composition.

Fig. 5. Stock proportions of two-plus ocean immature sockeye salmon sampled from throughout the Bering Sea during August of 2002 and 2003. "NS" indicates insufficient samples to estimate mixture composition.

Norton Sound

Norton Sound


N=100 Western Bristol Bay N=612 Eastern Bristol Bay N=158 Kamchatka River N=289 N=108 Kamchatka River N=225 N=312 Western Bristol Bay




Eastern Bristol Bay

Kuril Lake


Kuril Lake



Habicht et al. (2005)

NPAFC Technical Report No. 6

Fig. 6. Stock proportions of immature sockeye salmon sampled from western Bering Sea during August, September, and October of 2002 and 2003.

Stock distributions over time within locations off the Russian coast showed fairly stable compositions from August through October (Fig. 6). These data only represent ¼ of the year, and stock distributions may vary substantially within location over time if more samples were taken throughout the year. The consistent stock distribution over time does not necessarily indicate a lack of migration because co-migrating stocks might have little effect on stock distributions. Adding abundance information to the stock composition information could provide additional insight into migration patterns. This project relied on the cooperation of BASIS partners from the United States, Russia and Japan to collect and share tissue samples for genetic analysis and specifically we would like to acknowledge the contributions from: T. Walker, K. Meyers, E. Farley, J. Murphy, L. Low, O. Temnykh, V. Sviridov, N. Klovatch, I. Glebov, N. Starovoytov, S. Urawa, and S. Abe. Genetic analysis was funded in part by the North Pacific Research Board grants R0205 and R0303. REFERENCES

Norton Sound

August (N=421)

August (N=88)

September (N=283)

Western Bristol Bay

Kamchatka River

September (N=205)

October N=149)

Eastern Bristol Bay

October (N=164) Kuril Lake

North Alaska Peninsula

Bugaev, A.V. 2004. Scale pattern analysis estimates of the age and stock composition of sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka in R/V TINRO trawl catches in the western Bering Sea and northwest Pacific Ocean in September­October 2002 (NPAFC Doc. 763). 25p. KamchatNIRO, Kamchatka Fisheries and Oceanography Inst., Fisheries State Commit. of Russia, Naberezhnaya Street 18, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski, Russia.



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