Atlas, W.I., Sloat, M.R., Satterthwaite, W.H., Buehrens, T.W., Parken, C.K., Moore, J.M., Mantua, N.J., Hart, J., Potapova, A.

Publication Date

18 April 2023

Publication Name

Fish and Fisheries

Monday June 19, 2023

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, Salmonidae) are foundational to social- ecological systems of the Northeast Pacific Rim and exhibit a rich diversity of life histories including in their adult migration timing, age at critical life- history transitions and marine feeding distributions. In recent decades Chinook have experienced declines across much of their native range; however, changes in productivity and abundance have rarely been evaluated in relation to life- history variation. To understand trends in Chinook salmon production, and how they are related to life history, we compiled time series data from the Fraser River to the Sacramento River on total run size (pre-fishery abundance) and escapement (post-fishery spawner abundance) and fit time series models to estimate trends across this bioregion. Our analysis revealed that most Chinook populations are declining, with negative trends in escapement (57 of 79) and total run (16 of 23) size. Trends were most acutely negative for interior spring Chinook in the Fraser, Columbia and Snake Rivers and most populations in California. Summer and fall Chinook had mixed trends, with several summer and fall upriver bright populations in the interior Columbia and Fraser exhibiting in-creases in abundance from the 1990s to 2019. Our research reveals widespread declines of this important species, but local complexity in trends that are mediated by population- level life history, migratory behaviours and watershed-scale restoration actions. Understanding linkages between life histories and resilience should inform rebuilding efforts for Chinook salmon and highlight the need to conserve intraspecific biodiversity.

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