Photo of Luke Henslee

Luke Henslee

M.S. Student


College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
400 Front Street
Nome, AK 99762


George Fox University
B.S. Molecular Biology



Coastal migration characteristics and spawning distribution of chum and coho salmon in eastern Norton Sound fisheries


Research Overview

Historical research and local knowledge suggest that salmon vulnerable to harvest by fisheries in Subdistricts 5 and 6 of the Norton Sound management area represent a mixed stock, with unique populations migrating through marine waters and into spawning streams throughout the area and beyond. Incomplete understanding of salmon harvest composition and migration characteristics in Norton Sound has constrained managers’ ability to direct stock-specific persecution of fisheries. Consequently, fisheries in Subdistricts 5 and 6 are managed as a single unit and salmon are assigned to stocks based on the subdistrict in which they were harvested. This strategy has raised concern among local stakeholders that proportional harvest rates are being obscured and salmon caught in Subdistricts 5 and 6 could be bound for spawning streams in other subdistricts in the Norton Sound area. This project will use acoustic telemetry to address the critical management assumption that chum and coho stocks vulnerable to harvest in Subdistricts 5 and 6 are bound for spawning streams within those subdistricts and should be managed concurrently. This project will attempt to mimic the timing and location of nearshore salmon fisheries in Subdistricts 5 and 6 to tag chum and coho salmon such that the tagged fish are reasonably representative of the available mixed stocks. Sequential acoustic detection of tagged salmon by coastal marine and inriver hydrophone receivers will be used to estimate the spawning distribution of mixed stocks and describe spatiotemporal characteristics of nearshore migration. Results of this project are intended to inform management decisions by clarifying salmon stocks available for harvest in subdistricts 5 and 6 and stock-specific migration characteristics through those subdistricts so that stocks with harvestable surpluses can be targeted while minimizing impacts to less productive stocks.