A likelihood framework for joint estimation of salmon abundance and migratory timing using telemetric mark-recapture

North American Journal of Fisheries Management
By: , and 



Many fisheries for Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp. are actively managed to meet escapement goal objectives. In fisheries where the demand for surplus production is high, an extensive assessment program is needed to achieve the opposing objectives of allowing adequate escapement and fully exploiting the available surplus. Knowledge of abundance is a critical element of such assessment programs. Abundance estimation using mark—recapture experiments in combination with telemetry has become common in recent years, particularly within Alaskan river systems. Fish are typically captured and marked in the lower river while migrating in aggregations of individuals from multiple populations. Recapture data are obtained using telemetry receivers that are co-located with abundance assessment projects near spawning areas, which provide large sample sizes and information on population-specific mark rates. When recapture data are obtained from multiple populations, unequal mark rates may reflect a violation of the assumption of homogeneous capture probabilities. A common analytical strategy is to test the hypothesis that mark rates are homogeneous and combine all recapture data if the test is not significant. However, mark rates are often low, and a test of homogeneity may lack sufficient power to detect meaningful differences among populations. In addition, differences among mark rates may provide information that could be exploited during parameter estimation. We present a temporally stratified mark—recapture model that permits capture probabilities and migratory timing through the capture area to vary among strata. Abundance information obtained from a subset of populations after the populations have segregated for spawning is jointly modeled with telemetry distribution data by use of a likelihood function. Maximization of the likelihood produces estimates of the abundance and timing of individual populations migrating through the capture area, thus yielding substantially more information than the total abundance estimate provided by the conventional approach. The utility of the model is illustrated with data for coho salmon O. kisutch from the Kasilof River in south-central Alaska.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title A likelihood framework for joint estimation of salmon abundance and migratory timing using telemetric mark-recapture
Series title North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI 10.1577/M10-065.1
Volume 30
Issue 6
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 10 p.
First page 1385
Last page 1394
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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