Molecular and otolith tools to investigate population of origin of Arctic cisco

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: biology, fish, genetics, fisheries assessment, taxonomy

Principal Investigator: Nielsen, Jennifer L. (2)
Licence Number: 14343
Organization: USGS - Alaska Science Center
Licenced Year(s): 2008 2007
Issued: May 09, 2008
Project Team: Andrew Ramey (sample collection, genetic analysis, USGS), Chris Zimmerman (otolith microchemical analysis, USGS), Vanessa von Biela (otolith microchemical analysis, USGS), Sara Graziano (genetic analysis, USGS)

Objective(s): This study aims to: 1) use genetics and otolith (ear bone) microchemistry to determine if differences exist between collections of Arctic cisco (herring) made from tributaries of the Mackenzie River (Canada) and the Colville River (Alaska) and 2) use differences to identify population-of-origin of fish caught in the Colville River subsistence fishery.

Project Description: This study aims to: 1) use genetics and otolith (ear bone) microchemistry to determine if differences exist between collections of Arctic cisco (herring) made from tributaries of the Mackenzie River (Canada) and the Colville River (Alaska) and 2) use differences to identify population-of-origin of fish caught in the Colville River subsistence fishery.

Approximately 60 Arctic cisco will be collected from the Mountain, Carcajou, and Great Bear rivers. Sampling periods at each location are expected to be from three to seven days. Gill nets (3-inch stretched mesh monofilament) will be set to collect fish (1-5 nets/river, checked 2-3 times a day). The heads will be removed and transported to a laboratory in Anchorage, Alaska for analysis. Live by-catch will be immediately returned to the water. Dead by-catch will be sampled for potential use in future genetic studies. All salvageable meat will be offered to local communities for consumption. The number of nets per river and soak times will be adjusted as needed based on actual catch rates.

Results will be made available in the form of reports and scientific publications and may be presented at local community meetings.
Local field assistants will be hired. Boat rental, additional supplies and lodging will be purchased locally.
Fieldwork will be conducted from July 01 to September 30, 2008 at the Mountain River, Carcajou River, and Great Bear River. Base camps are to be determined, possibly Tulita, Norman Wells, and remote sites near the mouths of the Mountain and Carcajou Rivers.