Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

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Species Studied

Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). Credit, USGS, Western Fisheries Research Center (Public domain.)

Chinook salmon are found from the west coast of North America to Kamchatka and are the largest of the Pacific salmon. Many populations in the western United States are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Further, they are considered a valuable food and game fish throughout their range and have been artificially propagated in numerous hatcheries. Chinook salmon have been extensively studied and have been the focus of a considerable amount of research by WFRC biologists. Studies in the Columbia River basin to evaluate the performance of hatchery compared to wild-reared salmon are helping to answer critical questions about the role of artificial propagation in salmonid management. The WFRC is a leader in the use of otoliths to describe daily growth patterns in juvenile salmon. This data is being used to better understand the numerous life-history patterns displayed by Chinook salmon and to describe the productivity and importance of near-shore habitats within Puget Sound. Further, studies by the WFRC on bacterial kidney disease, caused by the bacterium Renibacterium salmoninarum have been instrumental in managing broodstocks at hatcheries, including those aimed at helping to recover populations listed under the Endangered Species Act.