We used experimental raceways to determine overwinter mortality of wild-reared immature and mature post-young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Secondarily, we investigated the effects of differing treatments (velocity and shelter) on winter growth and survival. Overall survival from November to April was 94%, and survival of immature (98%) and mature (90%) parr, although statistically different, was very similar. Immature parr grew more in length than mature parr, and both immature and mature parr in higher velocity (12 cm??s-1) raceways grew more than those in lower velocity (0.6 cm??s-1) raceways. Stomach contents were twofold greater in parr occupying higher velocity raceways than those in lower velocity raceways. Caloric content of immature and mature parr did not differ in any of five monthly samples. Lowest caloric content occurred in early February and increased between February and March when water temperatures were well below those considered optimal for growth. Although ice cover was present, isolating parr from conditions that occur in natural settings may have helped parr achieve nearly 2.5 times greater survival than parr in the wild. Further, whereas previous studies showed parr select habitats to minimize energetic loss, our results show a distinct advantage for parr to expend energy to feed during winter. ?? 2004 NRC Canada.
Additional Publication Details
Winter growth and survival of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in experimental raceways