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Upcoming project in Nadleh Whut’en Territory – Kokanee Stock Assessment 
Project summary - “Genomic tools for Kokanee stock assessment and broodstock identification in changing environments”

This project is led by UBC researchers, with DFO and University of California researchers as co-applicants.  The Province of BC (FLNRORD), the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) and Parks Canada are end-user collaborators. The project is focussed on improving our understanding of the kokanee genome, developing cost effective genetic assessment tools to identify discrete stocks and their specific adaptations, and identifying stocks with the highest likelihood to succeed in a changing environment (relevant to both wild stock and hatchery stock productivity/outcomes).  

These tools will have broad utility in furthering our understanding of wild stock systems and how our management actions affect outcomes related to fisheries and conservation/ecosystem function.  They will support science-based decision making related to optimizing regulations and management levers (e.g. spawning channels, stocking) in order to achieve desired conservation and fisheries management outcomes.  The project will also contribute to hatchery stock development, which is intended to improve brood source productivity potential and may increase (or limit any decline) in the number of stockable lakes as the impacts of climate change intensify.  Ultimately, the project will further our understanding of the Kokanee genome and genotype/phenotype relationships that will have a lasting impact on understanding and prioritizing critical wild populations and habitats.
Kokanee tissue samples from 20-30 populations/ecotypes across the province will be analyzed, with a target of 20 individuals per sample. In some cases, tissue/DNA samples already exist from other projects/previous work, so no new sampling will be necessary.  In other cases, new samples will be acquired by in-lake sampling or from spawners (method dependant on circumstances, but trawling, angling, dipnet, seine net, or gillnets would be used). 

We are confident there will be no population level impacts from this project due to the small number of individuals required. The study proposes to include up to 30 Kokanee populations from around the province.  Our goal is to include lakes that span a wide geographic scope, a range of habitat characteristics (e.g. warmer/cooler lakes, larger/smaller lakes, etc.), as well as populations that range in life-history adaptations (e.g. shore spawners, stream spawners, early/late season spawners, etc.). Three of the Kokanee populations of interest for this study are within Nadleh Whut’en First Nation territory: Fraser, Francois and Tchesinkut.

Our goal is to measure (size, age, gender) and take tissue samples from up to 20 individual Kokanee from each lake.  For Tchesinkut, no sampling is planned at this time as we have located archived tissue samples from previous work.  For Fraser and Francois Lake, we don’t currently have a firm sampling plan but are hoping we may be able to acquire samples from angling.  It is important to us that there are no population level impacts to Kokanee from sampling for this project, and we are confident that will the case due to careful sampling and the small number of fish required.

The project is planned to span 2 years, though interim summary results should be available after year 1, ended March 31, 2022.  For more information please contact Tyler Weir at (778) 698-9211.

The Nadleh Whut'en First Nation territory is located in north central BC.  It encompasses approximately 500,000 hectares (5,000 sq. kms) and includes several Indian Reserves managed by Nadleh Whut'en.


Lands Manager


Land Referrals Coordinator

Kirsten Chapman

Land Referrals Coordinator

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