The Genetics Program provides data on where fish come from. This information is required in regional, national, and international agreements and treaties to manage Pacific salmon, groundfish, and forage fish species. DNA, a natural mark, can be used to identify both species and stocks of fish. Identifying what species or stocks of fish are caught, what habitats they use, and where they migrate is important information for fishery management.
In our current research, we are trying to determine the origin of Chinook and chum salmon stocks incidentally caught (bycatch) in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries. We are also working to identify point of origin for sockeye salmon harvested in Pacific Salmon Treaty fisheries in Southeast Alaska, and juvenile salmon collected in the eastern Bering Sea, off the Yukon River during our summer/fall surveys. Other genetic research is focused on the stock structure of herring, Arctic cod, capelin, and the identification of new forage fish species.