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Utility of Parentage Based Tagging for Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation of Hatchery Programs within the Columbia River Basin

Feb 26, 2024


Salmon and steelhead hatchery programs in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) play a critical role in supporting healthy population abundances and mitigating the effects of hydrosystems. Hatchery managers require effective ways to conduct research monitoring and evaluation (RME) of the programs and stocks that they manage. Parentage-based Tagging (PBT) is a modern genetic tool that has several advantages over conventional tagging methods (e.g., coded wire tags, physical marks, and Passive Integrated Transponders) for RME applications including being relatively inexpensive, attaining nearly 100% tag rates, no tag-shedding, and non-lethal tag recovery from any life stage. PBT Baselines for Chinook Salmon and Steelhead were initiated in 2008 within the Snake River basin and expanded by 2012 to attain high expected tag rates for all hatcheries above Bonneville Dam. Combining RME information collected via PBT from adult returns to hatchery programs with other RME efforts that utilize PBT could provide a means for hatchery managers to track abundances, run timing, and harvest utilization of the stocks that they manage in a comprehensive manner throughout the CRB. Our objective for this study was to demonstrate the utility of PBT for comprehensive RME by testing whether a set of recently genotyped broodstock collections (i.e., adults spawned in 2021) showed that observed estimates of percent PBT-assigned, age and stock composition, and abundances of stocks passing Bonneville Dam were similar to the expected values for these metrics. Expected percent PBT-assigned of 36 Chinook Salmon collections (N=44,584) averaged 89.2% (52.9 – 100%) and 8 Steelhead collections (N=1,308) averaged 93.1% (62.8 – 100%), which largely agreed with observed percent PBT-assigned except for rare cases including intentional integration of natural origin fish in broodstocks. Similarly, we explain rare deviations from expectations of age and stock composition and Bonneville Dam stock-specific abundances, which if routinely monitored could be helpful to hatchery managers.


Devayne Lewis, Rebekah Horn, Shawn Narum, Jeff Stephenson, Jesse McCane, Audrey Harris, Matthew Campbell, and Jon Hess


Lewis, D., R. Horn, S. Narum, J. Stephenson, J. McCane, A. Harris, M. Campbell, and J. Hess. 2024. Utility of parentage based tagging for research, monitoring, and evaluation of hatchery programs within the Columbia River Basin. Oregon American Fisheries Society Meeting, February 27 – March 1, 2024. Bend, OR.



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