Distinct population segments in Puget Sound rockfishes (Sebastes spp): improving management of a vulnerable species complex


PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Lorenz Hauser (University of Washington)

CO-INVESTIGATORS: Robert Pacunski (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife), Krista Nichols (NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center), Kelly Andrews (NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center), Larry LeClair (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)


Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife marine groundfish managers are responsible for managing rockfish in the Puget Sound region, but lack up-to-date information on the population structure of most rockfish species. A Washington Sea Grant (WSG)-funded research team generated state-of-the art genetic data to provide species-specific information for management of this vulnerable species complex. They gathered data from ~10,000 genetic markers in eight species of Puget Sound rockfishes and mapped population boundaries based on their genetic markers. Research revealed that population structure was different for each species and improved understanding over previous assumptions. The updated data will help shape management strategies for marine managers in Washington and the tool may be broadly applied to other fisheries.