The department put up signs at the beginning of the summer in harbors and popular fishing spots asking fishermen for samples of king salmon, halibut, rockfish and lingcod. The signs also ask fishermen who have caught a king salmon to contact the department if the adipose fin has been removed. The adipose fin is a small fin on the lower back of the salmon.
In addition to studying biological characteristics like size, length and age, the groundfish project also studies catch and release rates and the numbers of groundfish caught, said Donn Tracy, a Kodiak-area sportfish biologist with fish and game. That project has been going on for about a decade, he said, and when the king salmon project started this year, the department posted signs to encourage input from fisherman. Another facet of the sampling includes angler interviews about guided and nonguided fishing such as where you are fishing, what you caught, how long your fished and what your release methods might include.
The second study — the one involving king salmon with the removed adipose fin — started in early summer with the focus of that study being determining the origin of the fish, Tracy said.
“Those fish actually have or potentially have a small wire tag embedded in their nasal area that has binary code on it that was implanted with they were in a juvenile stage,” he said. “That binary code can be read to determine where the fish came from, whether they’re from a river or Cook Inlet or a hatchery.”
So far, Tracy said, response from fishermen has been positive and a staff member has been talking to charter boat operators to encourage feedback from fishermen.
The projects continue until the end of August and resume next year in early summer. To report any data for either project, contact the Department of Fish and Game at 486-1880.