Fisheries managers need to understand herring stock genetics in order to set management objectives that aid herring recovery in PWS. The purpose of this study is to use the genetic makeup of herring populations to determine if one or multiple stocks exist in Prince William Sound. For example, are the fish that spawn on Montague different than those that spawn in Port Gravina or are they different portions of one large population.
Researchers from NOAA are coordinating with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and other researchers to collect herring samples from different spawning locations in and around Prince William Sound. Genetic markers (genes or DNA-sequences that identify the relatedness of individuals) will be used to identify the genetic identity of each herring sample, which will then be evaluated to determine how related the various spawning populations are.
Evaluation of stock genetics will allow researchers to determine if sub-populations exist in Prince William Sound. This valuable herring life history information will be used to determine if the models need to treat the spawning locations as independent or a single model for Prince William Sound herring can be used.