Despite the expanding use of milt cryopreservation in aquaculture, the performance of fish produced from this technique has not been fully explored beyond initial rearing stages. We compared the performance of juvenile steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss produced from untreated (UM) and cryopreserved milt (CM) and reared for 4-9 months. For the 1996 brood, CM alevins were heavier (??? 1.7%, P < 0.01) than UM alevins and length was influenced by a significant milt-by-family interaction (P < 0.03) suggesting a greater treatment effect for some families. No significant differences were found in length or weight (P > 0.05) for 1997 brood alevins and percent yolk was similar for both broods (P > 0.34). In growth and survival experiment I (GSE-I, 1996), UM and CM juveniles reared in separate tanks and fed to satiation (130 days) showed no significant differences in survival, length or weight (P > 0.05) between milt groups. In contrast, for UM and CM siblings reared in the same tank for 210 days on a low food ration (GSE-II), survival was similar (P > 0.05), but length (UM 4% > CM, P < 0.05) and possibly weight (UM 15% > CM, P = 0.08), were influenced by cryopreservation. Fish from the 1997 brood (GSE-III) were reared for 313 days in a repeat of GSE-II and no differences were found in survival (P = 0.47), length (P = 0.75) or weight (P = 0.76) suggesting considerable heterogeneity between broods. Performance of the 1996 brood was also tested for response to stress and a disease challenge. Cortisol responses of juveniles exposed to acute stress were not significantly different (P = 0.19), but mean cortisol was consistently and significantly greater (P < 0.01) for CM than UM fish exposed to a 48-h stress (increased density). After exposure to three dosages of the bacteria, Listonella anguillarum, we found similar mortality proportions (P = 0.72) for UM and CM fish. Variable juvenile performance for the parameters tested indicated significant differences among broods and families and suggests a cautionary approach to the widespread use of cryopreservation for steelhead.
Additional publication details
Performance of juvenile steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) produced from untreated and cryopreserved milt