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Project Information

Title: Early Marine Salmon Injury Assessment in Prince William Sound

Project Year and Number: 1992: FS04-A

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: 1992: FS04-B, 1992: FS04, 1991: FS04, 1990: FS04, 1989: FS04

Principal Investigator (PI): Mark Willette, Alaska Department of Fish & Game

Assisting Personnel: Stan Carlson, Greg Carpenter, Pat Shields

Research Location: Prince William Sound

Restoration Category: Damage Assessment

Injured Resources Addressed: Pink Salmon

Abstract: Recruitment to adult salmon populations appears to be strongly affected by the high mortality during the early marine life stage. During this period, slow growing individuals sustain a higher mortality, because they are vulnerable to predators for a longer time than fast growing individuals. In the laboratory, sublethal hydrocarbon exposure has been shown to cause reduced growth of juvenile salmon. Thus, in the wild, sublethal hydrocarbon exposure is expected to cause reduced growth resulting in increased predation. Oil contamination may also have reduced survival by decreasing prey populations or disrupting migration patterns. Oil can be toxic to littoral and pelagic macroinvertebrates. Hydrocarbon exposure can injure olfactory lamellar surfaces and cause an avoidance reaction. During the past decade, five salmon hatcheries have been established within Prince William Sound. These facilities, operated by private nonprofit corporations, produced approximately 535 million juvenile salmon in 1989. Approximately one million of these fish were marked with a coded-wire tag (CWT). Recovery of these marked fish in Prince William Sound has played a major role in our assessment of the impact of the oil spill on salmon. This damage assessment project has provided evidence of reduced growth and fry to adult survival among juvenile salmon in oiled near shore habitats. However, additional sample and data analysis is needed to quantify the effect of oil contamination on fry growth and fry to adult survival and adequately establish that environmental and oil effects are not confounded. This will be accomplished by comparing fry food consumption and food abundance between oiled and non-oiled areas. The data obtained during the three years of field studies will be completely analyzed and conclusions synthesized in a final report. The final report will synthesize project results and provide data summaries. A fully documented database will be produced for incorporation into the Natural Resource Damage Assessment database being developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.


Geographic Regions Prince William Sound
Species Fish - Salmon
Fields of Expertise Contaminants/Toxicology
Technological Methods Radio Tagging

Proposal: View PDF (18 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 1992

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 1992

Annual Report: 1992: Not Applicable

Final Report: View

Publications from this Project: None Available

More information may be available for this project under other years:

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Project Number Proposal Annual Reports Final Report Data
1992: FS04-B View (PDF) 1992: Not Applicable
See Project FS04 See Project FS04
1992: FS04 Not Available 1992: Not Applicable
View No datasets
1991: FS04 Not Available 1991: Not Applicable
See Project FS04 See Project FS04
1990: FS04 Not Available 1990: Not Applicable
See Project FS04 See Project FS04
1989: FS04 Not Available 1989: Not Applicable
See Project FS04 See Project FS04