Annual Sockeye Sampling Next Week At Ballard Locks

With sockeye beginning to move through the Ballard Locks in fair numbers, an annual test fishery will occur nearby early next week.

On Monday, Muckleshoot fishermen will gillnet up to 230 of the salmon in the upper Ship Canal as part of a joint tribal-state-international effort to collect biological data on the run.

Done in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Pacific Salmon Commission, the goal is to measure survival rates for different year classes of sockeye, determine the percentage of hatchery versus wild fish through marked otoliths in the former stock, and test for genetic diversity.

It’s part of a weekly series of tests on the run slated this year to occur between early June and mid-August.

According to WDFW, Seattle Public Utilities, which operates the hatchery on the Cedar River where many sockeye return, pays for the processing and analysis of each week’s salmon.

This year’s forecast calls for 77,292 back to the locks, well shy of the escapement goal of 350,000 needed to be met before recreational fisheries take place, though the count is off to a notable start.

As usual, tribal ceremonial and subsistence fisheries are included in this year’s LOAF, or list of agreed-to fisheries between WDFW and the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission. Those typically occur below the locks and in the fish ladder, and can cause alarm. Last year the Muckleshoots had a goal of 1,000 for their C&S fisheries, the Suquamish Tribe 2,000. Larger-scale tribal sockeye fisheries are dependent on locks counts

The Ballard Locks will be part of World Fisheries Day celebrations tomorrow from 11 to 3:30.

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