Canadian Scientists Hope To Replenish Coho Salmon Stocks

Study Focused on Improving Coho Salmon Stocks

Scientists are turning their attention to a new federally-funded program that is designed to replenish the diminished Coho salmon stocks on the West Coast. The new project, code named COHO: Culture, Community, Catch will use the genomic tools that are available to help build the first Coho salmon aquaculture industry on land in Canada. The COHO project will also work to improve the hatcheries, the management of the fisheries, as well as improve the stock identification.

Working on the COHO project will be 15 researchers from all over the world. The researchers will all have experience in population genetics, salmonid genomics, aquaculture genomics, social sciences, and fisheries management.

“When we discussed which would be the best species to tackle, we came up with coho being the most trackable,” said Willie Davidson, a Simon Fraser University professor of molecular biology and biochemistry.

Along with Laval University biology professor Louis Bernatchez, Davidson will co-lead the $9.9 million dollar, four-year project.

“It has a three-year life cycle, it’s an important species for sports fishing and First Nations, it has traditionally been an important part of the commercial catch. And it’s greatly enhanced through the hatchery program.”

Together researchers will work to sequence the genome in the fish which will lead them to discover variations in the species. Being able to sequence the genome will also allow researchers to use a forensics system to assign a DNA-type to each parent fish in the hatchery. This means that any fish that is released and caught will be able to be mapped back genetically to their parents in the hatchery no matter where.

For the full story on the study, click the link to check it out on The Vancouver Sun.

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