Anadromus runs of Atlantic salmon have been restored to the Connecticut, Merrimack, Pawcatuck, Penobscot, and St. Croix rivers in New England by the stocking of more than 8 million smolts since 1948. Fish-breeding methods have been developed that minimize inbreeding and domestication and enhance natural selection. Methods are available to advance the maturation of brood stock, control the sex of production lots and store gametes. Current hatchery practices emphasize the use of sea-run brood stock trapped upon return to the rivers and a limited number of captive brood stock and rejuvenated kelts. Fish are allowed to mature naturally, after which they are spawned and incubated artificially. Generally, 1-year smolts are produced, and excess fish are stocked as fry in headwater streams. Smolts are stocked during periods of rising water in spring. Self-release pools are planned that enable smolts to choose the emigration time. Culturists keep good records that permit evaluation of the performance of strains and the effects of breeding practices. As Atlantic salmon populations expand, culturists must use sound breeding methods that enhance biotic potential while maintaining genetic diversity and protecting unique gene pools.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Atlantic salmon brood stock management and breeding handbook