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Division: Sport Fish
Title: Contributions of coded wire tagged chinook salmon to the recreational fishery in Central Cook Inlet, Alaska, 1996.
Author: McKinley, T. R.
Year: 1999
Report ID: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Fishery Data Series No. 99-2, Anchorage.
Abstract: Coded wire tag recovery projects were conducted from 1 May through 24 June 1996 at two separate public beaches (Deep Creek marine and Anchor Point) that provide access to the central Cook Inlet early-run marine recreational fishery for chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Information collected from these projects is important for addressing conservation and allocation issues about Cook Inlet chinook salmon stocks. We examined 1,470 of the estimated 4,204 (SE= 422) chinook salmon harvested in the sport fishery. Of the chinook salmon examined, 30 were missing the adipose fin, and coded wire tags were recovered and decoded from 24. After expanding these data, the recovered tags accounted for 11.6% (486 fish, SE = 143) of the early-run harvest in this fishery. Among tagged stocks, adult chinook salmon originating from hatchery releases into the adjacent Ninilchik River were the largest single contributor (3.9%, 164 fish, SE = 45). As a group, adult chinook salmon originating from various hatchery releases in British Columbia accounted for 6.4% of the harvest (270 fish, SE = 122). Overall, the early-run harvest was well below average in 1996. Chinook salmon that spent 4 years at sea (4-ocean) accounted for 47% of the harvest, followed by 3-ocean (38%) and 2-ocean (13%) fish. Contribution estimates from coded wire tag returns in 1996 are introductory and biased towards stocks that have a tagged component in all age classes. Most of the stocks tagged in Cook Inlet had only 1- and 2-ocean tagged adults returning in 1996. The egg diameters of 370 female chinook salmon were measured to estimate the spawning component of the harvest. Egg diameter ranged from 0.9 mm to 6.6 mm. Females with eggs 4.0 mm and larger were considered spawners and accounted for 79% (SE = 2%) of the harvested females. All of the tagged Cook Inlet origin female chinook salmon had eggs that were 4.0 mm or larger. Using egg diameter for maturity estimates is an imperfect compromise, as some chinook salmon with white flesh (not found in Cook Inlet stocks) were found with eggs 4.0 mm and larger.
Keywords: Creel survey, angler harvest, coded wire tag, egg diameter, maturity, stock contribution, chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, mixed stock fishery, early run, late run, Central Cook Inlet.