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Fishery Bulletin


Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is an economically and ecologically important species, and populations from the west coast of North America are a major component of fisheries in the North Pacific Ocean. The anadromous life history strategy of this species generates populations (or stocks) that typically are differentiated from neighboring populations. In many cases, it is desirable to discern the stock of origin of an individual fish or the stock composition of a mixed sample to monitor the stock-specific effects of anthropogenic impacts and alter management strategies accordingly. Genetic stock identification (GSI) provides such discrimination, and we describe here a novel GSI baseline composed of genotypes from more than 8000 individual fish from 69 distinct populations at 96 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci. The populations included in this baseline represent the likely sources for more than 99% of the salmon encountered in ocean fisheries of California and Oregon. This new genetic baseline permits GSI with the use of rapid and cost-effective SNP genotyping, and power analyses indicate that it provides very accurate identification of important stocks of Chinook Salmon. In an ocean fishery sample, GSI assignments of more than 1000 fish, with our baseline, were highly concordant (98.95%) at the reporting unit level with information from the physical tags recovered from the same fish. This SNP baseline represents an important advance in the technologies available to managers and researchers of this species.