Fishery and Shellfishery Management

Data analysis, assessment and field evaluations for fishery management are performed by AquaTechnics for government agencies, tribal entities and private companies concerned with management of wild and hatchery produced fish and shellfish stocks, particularly as they relate to aquatic animal disease and health management.  These projects include design and implementation of fish and shellfish health field assessments, systematic collection of field samples, trout and salmon hatchery evaluation, and analysis of seafood processing and testing procedures.  We provide laboratory analysis in regard to natural population health and condition assessment, consultative analysis of health and condition, and data analysis and studies. 

We offer field assessment capabilities and laboratory backup.  Some project examples are:

Health assessment of Pacific razor clams in Olympic National Park

We conduct a periodic histological assessment of razor clams for health and condition, including the presence and intensity of the intracellular bacterial disease caused by nuclear inclusion X (NIX) for the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.

Assessment of the herring and pink salmon fishery in Prince William Sound, Alaska

An ongoing project started in 1995 includes the evaluation of herring and pink salmon fishery data, including health and condition indices, in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.  This work is conducted for ExxonMobil Corporation.  A recent example of this work is contained in the 2009 scientific journal publication: 

Elston, RA and Meyers TR 2009.  Effect of viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus on Pacific herring in Prince William Sound, Alaska, from 1989 to 2005.   Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 83: 223-246.

Evaluation of dissolved gas super-saturation on Columbia River system fish stocks

Since 1996, we have conducted evaluations of wild and captive salmon for evidence of health and condition effects caused by dissolved gas super-saturation, a condition resulting from spillway flows from dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and their tributaries.  This work has been conducted for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bonneville Power Administration, Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, Columbia River Fish Farms and the Colville Confederated Tribes.   Some of this work has been published in scientific peer reviewed journals and recent work is contained in reports to clients.

Elston, R. A., J. Colt, P. Frelier, M. Mayberry, W. Maslen.  1997.  Differential diagnosis of gas emboli in the gills of steelhead, Oncorhynchus mykiss, and other salmonid fish.  Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 9: 258-264.

Elston, R. A., J. Colt, S. Abernethy, W. Maslen. 1997.  Gas bubble reabsorbtion in chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, in a simulated smolt bypass system.  Journal of Aquatic Animal Health 9: 317-321.

Evaluation of farmed shellfish products affected by pollution events

We have assisted shellfish farming clients to establish the extent of oil spill effects, document those effects and obtain compensation for farm closures and lost revenue during oil spill closures.  We assisted shellfish farming clients following the M/V Kure Oil Spill in November 1997 to assess possible damage to farmed shellfish following a spill of diesel oil and incursion of this oil into areas of oyster beds.  Field assessment and laboratory studies of oyster health and condition were completed.  In addition, a series of recommendations were made in regard to resuming oyster production and harvest operations.   We conducted similar studies and data analysis for a shellfish farming client in Coos Bay, Oregon, following the M/V New Carissa Oil Spill in February 1999.  Detailed assessments were made for an oyster company farming about 700 acres of oyster beds in Coos Bay.  Extensive evaluation was made of oyster health and condition, documentation of oyster losses and environmental factors that affect oyster health and condition.   We conducted a detailed survey of dioxin contamination of sediments and shellfish in St. Louis Bay, Mississippi in 2004 and published the results in the Journal of Shellfish Research.

Assisting trout farms produce female stocks of rainbow trout 

This ongoing project was begun in 1992 for private fish farming clients.  Trout farmers produce all female stocks of trout to increase product quality.  For this project we manage the use of methyl-testosterone, as permitted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to masculinize farmed female trout and salmon which in turn are used to produce all female stocks of farmed fish.  All-female trout stocks are highly desirable and produce better quality flesh than male stocks.  Since 1992, a special permit (Investigational New Animal Drug permit) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been managed by AquaTechnics for private trout farms, enabling them to use methyltestosterone, a controlled substance, and ensuring that the substance is used in compliance with federal regulations.

Guidance for meeting human health requirements for edible shellfish

We provide consultation to private shellfish farming clients to meet processing and testing requirements for edible shellfish products.  This guidance includes evaluation of methods of treatment of edible shellfish to maximize quality and food safety based on product management and testing.

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