South Sound Science: Larry Phillips

Larry Phillips, Department of Fish and Wildlife, on “Season movements and associated management implications for coastal cutthroat trout in South Puget Sound”:

Presented observational data from multi-year, multi-agency study

Coastal Cutthroat trout is an important sport fish species that historically supported a large harvest fishery, and overharvest resulted in declines (anecdotal).

In 1997 the Natural Marine Fisheries service petitioned to list cutthroat trout under Endangered Species Act.  Determined it wasn’t in danger, but this was based on little data.

Stock Status challenges: “Coastal cutthroat trout don’t follow the rules,” and a general lack of data

In 2006 WDFW began surveying South Puget Sound streams to create methods to detect changes in relative abundance.

Fish were tagged with acoustic tags.  There was low post-tagging mortality, and high post-spawning mortality.  None of the tagged fish went outside study area.   

Conclusions include: “Index surveys may be useful at detecting changes in relative abundance over time.”  “Goldsborough and Mill Creek could be important spawning locations in South Puget Sound.”

And then a couple questions for David Beauchamp, regarding stratification of the coastal ocean and the effects of copper.  Recent research has shown that copper hampers coho salmon’s ability to detect predators.

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