Title

One Fin, Two Fin, Red Fin, Eroded Fin: Fin Erosion and Its Relationship to Juvenile Chinook Salmon Health

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

Salmon have been culturally, economically, and environmentally important to the Pacific Northwest throughout history and improving their passage survival through the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) continues to be a high priority. The FCRPS is a series of hydropower projects on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers that collectively provide about 30percent of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest and provide power to other states. The United States Army Corps of Engineers has conducted survival studies to evaluate passage behavior, timing, and survival of juvenile salmonids through the FCRPS. An important aspect of these studies has been the evaluation of fish condition (FC). Some agencies assess FC using numerous external observations but do not link them to internal condition or survival. Data collected during the 2012 Lower Columbia River survival study on juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were analyzed for fin erosion and erythema patterns. The role of hatcheries on FC was assessed by comparing fin condition between adipose-clipped and adipose-intact salmon. Preliminary analyses indicated that fin erosion severity significantly increased with fork length, and was more severe in adipose-clipped salmon. Fin erythema rarely occurred, but overall, was 1.78 times more prevalent in adipose-clipped fish. Ultimately, fin condition plays a role in a juvenile salmon’s ability to migrate, avoid predators, and maneuver through and past obstacles. These results will help to assist fishery managers to determine potential causes for fin condition degradation, as well as the impact of fin condition on survival.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Paul James

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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One Fin, Two Fin, Red Fin, Eroded Fin: Fin Erosion and Its Relationship to Juvenile Chinook Salmon Health

SURC 137B

Salmon have been culturally, economically, and environmentally important to the Pacific Northwest throughout history and improving their passage survival through the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) continues to be a high priority. The FCRPS is a series of hydropower projects on the Columbia and lower Snake rivers that collectively provide about 30percent of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest and provide power to other states. The United States Army Corps of Engineers has conducted survival studies to evaluate passage behavior, timing, and survival of juvenile salmonids through the FCRPS. An important aspect of these studies has been the evaluation of fish condition (FC). Some agencies assess FC using numerous external observations but do not link them to internal condition or survival. Data collected during the 2012 Lower Columbia River survival study on juvenile Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) were analyzed for fin erosion and erythema patterns. The role of hatcheries on FC was assessed by comparing fin condition between adipose-clipped and adipose-intact salmon. Preliminary analyses indicated that fin erosion severity significantly increased with fork length, and was more severe in adipose-clipped salmon. Fin erythema rarely occurred, but overall, was 1.78 times more prevalent in adipose-clipped fish. Ultimately, fin condition plays a role in a juvenile salmon’s ability to migrate, avoid predators, and maneuver through and past obstacles. These results will help to assist fishery managers to determine potential causes for fin condition degradation, as well as the impact of fin condition on survival.