I got to Alaska the way most people do: Through personal trauma and a series of questionable decisions.
These fin clips are shipped to the lab as soon as possible (typically on day three after the vessel originally left Port Moller) and are picked up by lab staff on the morning of day four.
The lab is geared for rapid laboratory and statistical analyses of the incoming samples, and estimates of stock composition are made available to fishery managers and the public on the morning of day five, approximately two days before fish represented by the sampled fish are expected inshore.
The test fishery occurs along the southern portion of a transect between Port Moller and Cape Newenham that is believed to lie perpendicular to the migration of sockeye salmon returning to Bristol Bay.
The test fishery is believed to capture sockeye salmon approximately one week before they arrive at the inshore fishing districts of Bristol Bay and has been used since the 1980s as an inseason predictor of inshore abundance, fish age structure, sex, and length.
Beginning in 2005, samples of fins have been collected for use in genetic analyses.