Species stability and persistence are directly linked to the maintenance of infraspecific diversity which can buffer against changing conditions. In our lab we use genetic mixture analysis and individual assignment to evaluate stock composition of Atlantic salmon harvested in three fisheries in the northwest Atlantic and directly contribute to the assessment of these stocks and ongoing management efforts. We have shown that salmon collected from the Saint Pierre and Miquelon fishery were from three regions in North America, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Gaspe Peninsula, and Newfoundland. In the West Greenland harvest, North American contributions were largely from Labrador, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and the Gaspe Peninsula. Finally in the coastal Labrador fishery mixture estimates suggest the harvest is dominated by a single region, central Labrador. In all three fisheries, estimates of stock composition appear stable over time and assigned individuals show the expected trend of declining river age with latitude of home region.
This work illustrates how genetic analysis of these mixed stock Atlantic salmon fisheries in the northwest Atlantic can directly inform assessment and management efforts in the region. Ongoing work is further developing our baseline and continuing to explore the composition of these fisheries while also looking at local contributions to the fishery in coastal Labrador, and elsewhere throughout the North Atlantic. Similar work is also underway on a coastal cod population in Labrador. This work is jointly funded by DFO and an NSERC Strategic Project Grant led by Dalhousie University.