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Fish Genetics Database Helps Scientists Collaborate

August 1, 2018

Access to genetic information is key to good decisions by fisheries managers. Fisheries scientists in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska have been collecting genetic information on salmon and other species for years. But sharing genetic code between laboratories requires the costly transfer of massive amounts of data and has always been a challenge.

Resource Data worked with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to develop FishGen, the first long-term, standardized, shared data repository for fish genetics research in the western United States. A recent feature article about FishGen in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Fisheries Magazine called the application “an excellent tool for supporting genetic research and monitoring projects throughout the region.”

The FishGen repository allows collaborating labs to share and access data from other labs. Participating agencies such as NOAA Fisheries and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife can upload, search, and download genetic data sampled from pink, sockeye, chum, Chinook, Coho, and steelhead populations in the Columbia River Basin and the along the Pacific Coast. Users can also map search results and export data in standardized formats.

In describing Resource Data’s involvement, Jesse McCane, data coordinator for IDFG’s Eagle Fish Genetics Laboratory, called us “an appealing choice for this project as they have experience working on many other fisheries-related projects.”

McCane referenced our work for the Alaska Fisheries Information Network, the Pacific Fisheries Information Network, the Yukon River fish tracking system, and eLandings, the reporting system for commercial fishery landings in Alaska.

The public can access the FishGen website for free: www.fishgen.net

You can follow this link to read the Fisheries journal abstract or purchase the full article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/fsh.10105