Salmon Study
Posted 08 August 2014, 9:56 am NDT
Cleaned opercula (gill flap) from adult salmon (larger version)
The Labrador Institute, in partnership with the Torngat Secretariat, Nunatsiavut Government, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Dalhousie University, Innu First Nation, and the Labrador Hunting and Fishing Association, is conducting a study on salmon genetic structure and natal streams in Lake Melville under the direction of Drs. Marie Clément (MUN) and Ian Bradbury (DFO). Jon Pearce (PhD student), Judith Savoie (Intern, University du Québec à Rimouski), Lianna Rice (summer student) and John Adams are conducting the project in the field and laboratory. In addition of assisting Jon in the field, Judith is conducting her own project to generate baseline information on contaminant levels in juvenile and adult salmon. On Wednesday, July 30th, I had to opportunity to shadow Research Assistant Lianna Rice. As fishermen went to check their nets early morning, we waited until they returned to see if they had any salmon – if so, we asked if we could obtain samples to use for research. Fishery has slowed down but we received two samples; we recorded the length, weight and location it was caught, then we cut a small sample from the caudal and adipose fins, extracted the otoliths (small bone in the ear) from near the brain, and every tenth sample a gill flap (opercula) and meat sample was taken. The otoliths can be used to age the fish and see which years had slow or rapid growth. They can also give information of water chemistry of the location where fish grow, so it is possible to figure out where the fish came from, etc. Once most of the fishermen had returned, we headed to the lab to properly prepare the samples. In the lab, we cleaned the otoliths by removing the flesh around the bone. We prepared the opercula by soaking it and scrubbing off the skin. The samples were then properly stored. We also worked with some parr (juvenile salmon) that had been collected from Red Wine River. Similar to the adult fish, we cut the opercula and extracted the otoliths. Getting the otoliths from the parr was quite tedious and required a lot of patience; they are so tiny that you could easily miss or lose them.
Watch for the research paper(s) that will be released about this study, they will provide a lot of information about local Salmon populations.
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