Photographs courtesy of Denis Fournier & Mark Ives
The 2008 Atlantic salmon fishing season was set from Friday 1 August – Friday 31 October. Seven samplers from five countries (Canada, Ireland, UK-England & Wales, UK-Scotland and the USA) participated in the program. In addition, an eighth sampler from the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources in Nuuk, Greenland served as a local coordinator and collected additional samples on an ad hoc basis.
Samplers were deployed to three different communities representing three different Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) Divisions (geographic delineations of the area). Two samplers were stationed in Sisimiut (NAFO Division 1B), three in Nuuk (NAFO Division 1D) and two in Qaqortoq (NAFO Division 1F). A total of 115 sampling days occurred during 12 of the 13 weeks of the fishery.
On a daily basis, the samplers would attempt to locate any recently landed Atlantic salmon. The primary site for locating fish was the local open air market where the fishermen were displaying their catch for sale. In addition, salmon were also located at the local hospital, a senior home and at the wharf where individual harvests were unloaded from the vessel. If located, the sampler would request permission to sample the fish from either the fishermen or the owner of the fish if they had been sold. Once permission was obtained, the sampler would inspect each fish for the presence of external tags and/or fin clips. The sampler would also obtain a length and weight and would collect a scale and tissue sample from as many fish as possible. The baseline sampling is non-invasive. Once the sampling is completed, the individual fish are returned to the fishermen/owner and are either displayed for sale or prepared for storage.
In total, approximately 2,000 fish were inspected for the presence of identification tags or fin clips. Of these, 1,800 fish were further sampled for length and weight data and scale and tissue samples were collected. Scale samples will provide information on fish age and tissue samples will provide information on fish continent/region of origin through genetic analysis.
The mean fork length of the sampled salmon was 646 mm and the mean gutted weight was 2.75kg. The scale and tissue samples are currently being analyzed, so this information is not yet available; these data will be reported to the ICES WGNAS in April 2009.