Pacific salmon ecology & conservation laboratory

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Marika Gale, M.Sc. Student

Centre for Applied Conservation Research
Forest Sciences Centre
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z4  CANADA

Office: +001 604 822-1969
marika.gale@gmail.com

I am interested in the influence of water temperature on immediate and delayed mortality of salmon escaping from fishing gears. Specifically, I will use laboratory experiments to study how sockeye salmon respond physiologically to the stress of capture, and how that response varies depending on water temperature. The Fraser River is currently experiencing the warmest summer temperatures in the last 50 years, and climate models predict peak temperatures to continue to increase in the future. Extremely high river temperatures, such as those reached by the Fraser River in the last decade, result in high
in-river salmon mortality. Coupled with natural mortality, there is additional mortality due to in-river commercial and recreational fishing. It is assumed that total mortality due to fishing is equal to the number of fish caught and kept. However, this assumption does not account for fish that escape or are released from fishing gears, and later die from the stress or injury incurred during this encounter. My research will provide a better understanding of the cumulative effect of water temperature, capture, and subsequent escape on salmon physiology and mortality, which will provide fisheries managers with better information to guide decisions that will ensure sustainable salmon stocks in the future.