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Non-lethal estimation of body composition of Yukon River salmon

October 31, 2005

Because of the importance of Chinook salmon to commercial and subsistence fisheries on the Yukon River, further study of the factors that may affect the success of this species and our ability to manage the fisheries is warranted. Critical to these studies is the determination of the amount of lipids (fat) stored and available to the fish as its primary energy source for migration and spawning. Recent developments of Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) promise a simple, non-lethal means of estimating proximate composition (e.g. fat, protein, water content) for field applications with fish. The goal of the project was to develop BIA models for Chinook salmon from the Yukon River watershed that would permit the non-lethal estimation of body proximate composition for use in field studies.

Our results clearly demonstrated that BIA can be used to estimate proximate composition and energy density of salmon. While some minor refinements were suggested, the methodology can be used in a wide variety of field applications. For instance, application of the BIA models to predict energy levels of fish during their migration will allow evaluation of management programs, while also yielding data that can be used to evaluate energy use along the migratory path. Correlations of energy level with ongoing tagging, radio-tracking, and genetic studies also have the potential to allow managers and scientists to understand the relationship between fat content and distance to spawning location. These models have the potential for application to this species in other river systems. They also provide tools for a variety of other scientific investigation such as: 1) differences in energy stores in spawning and recruitment success; 2) effects of global warming on migratory salmonid stocks; and 3) differences in annual flow and temperature regiments upon migratory energy costs and resulting recruitment success.

Publication Year 2005
Title Non-lethal estimation of body composition of Yukon River salmon
Authors F. Joseph Margraf, Kyle J. Hartman, M. Keith Cox
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Series Title Final Report
Index ID 70193171
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Leetown