The Early Marine Biology of the Hatchery/Wild Juvenile Salmonid (Oncorhynchus sp.) Community in Barkley Sound, Canada

Ronald W. Tanasichuk1, *, #, Jodi Grayson1, Jennifer Yakimishyn2, Seaton Taylor3, Gary D. Dagley4
1 WorleyParsons Canada, Suite 500, 151 Canada Olympic Road SW, Calgary, AB, T3B 6B7, Canada;
2 Parks Canada, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, P.O Box 280, Ucluelet, BC, V0R 3A0, Canada;
3 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7, Canada;
4 Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Nitinat River Hatchery, P.O. Box 369, Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 7L9, Canada

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© 2014 Tanasichuk et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Pacific Biological Station, 3190 Hammond Bay Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 6N7, Canada; Tel: 250-816-6726; Fax: 250-753-8001; E-mail:
# Current address: Swale Rock Marine Research, 3649 Place Road, Nanaimo, BC, V9T 1M9, Canada


We conducted 11 purse seine/beachseine surveys over the summers of 2000 and 2001 to learn about the migration timing, distribution, and diet of hatchery chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and coho (O. kisutch), and wild chinook, coho, sockeye (O. nerka) and chum (O. keta) juvenile salmon, in Barkley Sound, West Coast Vancouver Island. Juvenile salmon partitioned Barkley Sound by time and space, and by diet except for hatchery and wild coho. The analysis of migration timing included historic data for 1987-89, and results showed that timing differed between species and was consistent over years. Sockeye and chum dominated the juvenile salmon community until mid-June and hatchery and wild chinook dominated subsequently. Fish tended to be dispersed contagiously. Results of correlation analyses of catch suggested that fish of different origins and species did not co-occur. The euphausiid Thysanoessa spinifera was an important prey item but different fish species selected different sizes of T. spinifera at different times. The diet overlap between hatchery and wild coho did not affect return. Migration timing for sockeye and wild coho seems to reflect a strategy to enter the ocean when the biomass of the size fraction of T. spinifera that each species selects is likely to be maximal. Descriptions of migration timing, fish interactions, and diet provide information which appears to be useful for learning about the biological basis of salmon return variability.

Keywords: Distribution, feeding, hatchery/wild fish interactions, juvenile salmon, migration, prey selectivity.