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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Multidecadal Trends in Body Size of Puget Sound Chinook Salmon: Analysis of Data from the Tengu Derby, a Culturally Unique Fishery

Quinn, Thomas P.; Scheuerell, Mark D.; Losee, James P.; Hanada, Doug;


In Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus spp., downward trends in size and abundance have been reported for species and stocks for over 40 years, but the patterns are inconsistent among regions and species. Interpretation of these trends is complicated by many possible contributing factors, including short time series, data comprising a mix of stocks, and varying gear types. Here, we present data on the mass of individual Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha caught in the winter from 1946 to 2019 in central Puget Sound, Washington, by participants in what may be the longest running Pacific salmon derby in North America, the Tengu Derby. In this annual recreational fishing competition, established by Japanese Americans immediately after release from internment camps at the end of World War II, participants follow strict gear, area, and methods regulations and catch almost exclusively salmonids originating from and remaining in Puget Sound. Records revealed an overall decline in fish mass over the decades, with a high degree of variability throughout the time series. Specifically, resident Chinook Salmon exhibited several shifts, including a decrease in size from a high in the 1950s to a low around 1980, followed by an increase to another high around 1990 and then a decline over the most recent 30 years. These size trends of residents differed from those of Puget Sound Chinook Salmon as a whole. We infer that the resident fish experienced ecological conditions affecting their growth that were distinct from those of fish feeding along the Pacific Ocean in the same periods. These distinct trends in size of Chinook Salmon from common origins indicate that the different migration patterns of fish within stocks must be considered in the analysis and interpretation of body size trends and also in patterns of survival.

Published in

Marine and Coastal Fisheries

2022, volume: 14, number: 3, article number: e10205
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Quinn, Thomas P.
University of Washington
Scheuerell, Mark D.
University of Washington
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Hanada, Doug
Tengu Club

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science
Fish and Wildlife Management

Publication Identifiers


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