Genetic evidence of local exploitation of atlantic salmon in a coastal subsistence fishery in the northwest atlantic

Ian R. Bradbury, Lorraine C. Hamilton, Sara Rafferty, David Meerburg, Rebecca Poole, J. Brian Dempson, Martha J. Robertson, David G. Reddin, Vincent Bourret, Mélanie Dionne, Gerald Chaput, Timothy F. Sheehan, Timothy L. King, John R. Candy, Louis Bernatchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Fisheries targeting mixtures of populations risk the overutilization of minor stock constituents unless harvests are monitored and managed. We evaluated stock composition and exploitation of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in a subsistence fishery in coastal Labrador, Canada, using genetic mixture analysis and individual assignment with a microsatellite baseline (15 loci, 11 829 individuals, 12 regional groups) encompassing the species’ western Atlantic range. Bayesian and maximum likelihood mixture analyses of fishery samples over 6 years (2006–2011; 1772 individuals) indicate contributions of adjacent stocks of 96%–97%. Estimates of fishery-associated exploitation were highest for Labrador salmon (4.2%–10.6% per year) and generally <1% for other regions. Individual assignment of fishery samples indicated nonlocal contributions to the fishery (e.g., Quebec, Newfoundland) were rare and primarily in southern Labrador, consistent with migration pathways utilizing the Strait of Belle Isle. This work illustrates how genetic analysis of mixed stock Atlantic salmon fisheries in the Northwest Atlantic using this new baseline can disentangle exploitation and reveal complex migratory behaviours.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 18 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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