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Biologists' salmon research published in industry journal

Data sharing

Why do salmon sometimes break with ancestral tradition and return from the ocean to spawn in a stream other than their "birth" stream? Are they rebels? Rugged individualists? Troublemakers?

Two Grant PUD fisheries scientists, Todd Pearsons and Rod O'Conner, recently had an article on our experiences with "straying salmon" published in the "Transactions of the American Fisheries Society" journal.

The publication will become a chapter in Grant PUD's Comprehensive Report on the status of our hatchery programs. Having the information peer reviewed and published lends scientific credibility to our efforts," says co-author Rod.

"Straying occurs when a returning salmon ends up spawning in a tributary or river basin other than from which it originated," Rod says. "For example, a spring Chinook Salmon that originated from the Wenatchee River that ends up spawning in the Methow River.

Some straying is a normal within salmon populations and allows colonization of new habitat or flexibility in dealing with a natural disaster that eliminates access to preferred spawning areas."

Rod added, "Todd wanted to use straying by natural origin fish to bring context to the behavior of our hatchery program fish. We are working on a second publication comparing natural origin salmon stray rates with hatchery origin salmon stray rates. The second publication will also become a chapter in the Comprehensive Report."

"An additional benefit of going through the peer review process is that the information has much greater reach. Scientific journals are available world-wide and as such, the District's investment in the hatchery programs has impacts beyond meeting federal compliance requirements."

— Christine Pratt with help from Rod O'Conner
Sockeye salmon spawning in the Wenatchee River

Todd Pearsons
Rod O'Conner