Oregon’s Seafood Commodity Commissions monitor issues within their specific industry areas, and COMES has worked with each of them over the years to provide relevant scientific information to address areas of concern.
Read on for examples of our work with each of the Commissions.
COMES researchers are always working on multiple aspects of salmon conservation and utilization. As an economically and culturally important species in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest, issues surrounding salmon are plentiful. A few of the research projects undertaken by COMES genomics researchers include:
- working with fishermen to develop approaches which would allow them to fish the more robust stocks and avoid weaker ones;
- evaluating genetic differences in spring and fall run Chinook salmon stocks;
- and assessing migration patterns of reintroduced spring Chinook salmon when returned to its historical natal spawning grounds.
COMES faculty, both in both Newport and at the OSU Seafood Lab in Astoria, have worked with Albacore fishermen to improve product handling and product quality and to support development of value-added products. COMES also developed a tracking system that would demonstrate to regulators that fishermen were icing or freezing their catch immediately, preventing dangerous toxins (histamines) from forming on the fish. While this kind of attention to seafood safety meets regulatory needs, it also increases consumer confidence in the product.
COMES has been instrumental in providing a variety of research including stock assessment and science-based conservation strategies for groundfish species deemed to have been overfished in the 1990s, which has allowed many of these trawl fisheries to rebound and open again. COMES also provided the core research in product quality, product development, marketing, and management to support the shore side development of the Pacific whiting fishery. The ground fisheries are now carefully managed, and groundfish and Pacific Whiting are certified as sustainably manageed by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). COMES continues to assist with strategies to rebuild the market for Oregon groundfish.
Dungeness crab is the most valuable single-species commercial fishery in Oregon, and COMES researchers have conducted a number of projects related to discard mortality, bioeconomic marketing, population structure and movement, and juvenile recruitment patterns. Most notably, COMES assisted the Dungeness Crab Commission in certification by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) through the Community Seafood Initiative program under the aegis of the Seafood Consumer Center.