In 2003 the Gitksan Watershed Authorities (GWA) initiated a project to collect genetic (tissue) samples for DNA analysis from chum and pink salmon in selected streams throughout the Gitxsan territories. Chum DNA collection continued in 2004 where the project was expanded to include chinook from selected streams. In 2005 the tissue sample collection continued but on an opportunistic level and included stream type sockeye. In 2006 the Alaska Department of Fish and Game contracted the GWA to collect 100 axillary process samples from sockeye salmon in 3 streams. In 2007 two more locations were added for DNA collection, Kluakaz Creek and Kluayaz Creek both near the headwaters of the Skeena.
From the individual tissue samples and their spawning streams, DNA analysis will provide a ‘genetic map’ that displays the genetic diversity of the wild stocks throughout the Skeena.