Probabilistic-based genetic assignment model: Assignments to subcontinent of origin of the West Greenland Atlantic salmon harvest

Timothy F. Sheehan, Christopher M. Legault, Timothy L. King, Adrian P. Spidle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A multistock Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) fishery operates off the coast of West Greenland and harvests fish of North American and European origin. Annual landings peaked in 1971 at 2700 t, but declined to 22 t in 2003. Biological data are collected to characterize the catch and its stock composition. Multilocus genotypes, generated via microsatellite DNA analysis, are used to derive statistics on continent of origin and less accurate finer-scale assignments. We developed a probabilistic-based genetic assignment (PGA) model to estimate the contribution of salmon from individual North American rivers in the 2000-2003 West Greenland catch. Uncertainty associated with finer-scale assignments is addressed by incorporating estimated misclassification rates and by reporting results as distributions generated via Monte Carlo resampling. US-origin fish represented ∼1% (by number) of the salmon harvested at West Greenland during the years 2000-2003. The resulting loss of spawners to this stock complex was approximately half the estimated adult returns in 2001, but was below 4% in the other 3 years. This is the first attempt to partition the US component of the West Greenland mixed-stock fishery to its finer parts. The approach can be used to identify the effects of fishing on individual stocks within any multistock complex where genetic samples of known origin are available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-550
Number of pages14
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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