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 population structure of most rockfish species. A Washington Sea Grant (WSG)-funded research team generated genetic data as a new tool for providing species-specific information for management of this vulnerable species.

Researchers are developing a new tool for assessing population structures of rockfish, based on genetic markers for eight rockfish species in Puget Sound, which is revealing that some species are hybridizing with each other and that most consist of isolated populations. The updated data will help shape management strategies for marine managers in Washington and the tool may be broadly applied to other fisheries.