A second Gulf of Alaska expedition effort of the International Year of the Salmon and Pacific Salmon Foundation has concluded, with new data gathered toward a goal of providing an early measure of the numbers of salmon that will return to North American rivers.
Expedition leaders announced in late April that the international team of researchers reached Victoria Harbor, British Columbia, on April 7.
The expedition came in the wake of a voyage last year aboard the Russian research vessel the R/V Professor Kaganovskiy that engaged in similar studies in the Gulf of Alaska. During the second expedition, there were 51 stations spread over the southern Gulf of Alaska, each about eight hours apart. Researchers conducted extensive oceanographic measurements and a trawl net fished at the surface for an hour at each station.
Samples were collected from the catch including a tissue sample for DNA analysis, to identify the exact spawning location for each fish.
The Pacific Legacy set sail from British Columbia on March 11 with a dozen scientists from Canada, Russia and the United States on board.
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, scientists from the US disembarked from the vessel at Prince Rupert as a precaution against the possibility of borders being closed between the two countries. Once the vessel reached British Columbia, scientists from Russia were unable to return home quickly due to the pandemic, so began work on the cruise report at the home of a Canadian colleague in BC.
Researchers plan to make data from both expeditions available to all interested researchers and also hold a conference when possible to finalize their work and publish the findings.
The second expedition, supported by the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, is part of the International Year of the Salmon. It was privately funded by a number of entities, including Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Leader Creek Fisheries, Trident Seafoods, Icicle Seafoods, Peter Pan Seafoods, UniSea, Silver Bay Seafoods, E&E Foods, Keltic Seafoods Ltd., French Creek Seafood and the Canadian Fishing Co., as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Coastal First Nations’ Great Bear Initiative.