Working Group on Salmon Marking
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Welcome to the Working Group on Salmon Marking

Otolith marking has proven to be an effective tool to determine the hatchery origin of individual salmon in high seas and in coastal waters. Because of this the North Pacific Rim countries (Canada, Japan, Korea, Russia and United States) are using this technique to mass mark anadromous salmon for both research and fishery management.

Approximately 20% of the total hatchery fish released in 2000 were otolith marked. In 2004 30% were otolith marked. As the number of marked fish increases, it is becoming a concern that duplicate thermal marks originating from different hatcheries will be encountered during ocean sampling.

Unfortunately, there are practical limits on the number of mark patterns available for use due to the narrow marking window at hatcheries. Complex patterns increase the costs for hatcheries and preclude a quick analysis of the pattern for timely stock management.

The North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission (NPAFC) Working Group on Salmon Marking was established in 1998 to coordinate the application of otolith mark patterns and improve the accuracy of mark recognition among member nations.

The role of this Working Group is to:
  • coordinate otolith mark patterns among member countries to minimize duplication
  • create an international database of otolith mark releases
  • exchange information on the development and standards of otolith mark techniques
  • exchange information on the applications of otolith marks for salmon biology and stock management
For more information regarding the Working Group on Salmon Marking, please feel free to contact us.

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