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Comparing life history characteristics of Lake Michigan’s naturalized and stocked Chinook Salmon

North American Journal of Fisheries Management

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https://doi.org/10.1080/02755947.2016.1204392

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Abstract

Lake Michigan supports popular fisheries for Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha that have been sustained by stocking since the late 1960s. Natural recruitment of Chinook Salmon in Lake Michigan has increased in the past few decades and currently contributes more than 50% of Chinook Salmon recruits. We hypothesized that selective forces differ for naturalized populations born in the wild and hatchery populations, resulting in divergent life history characteristics with implications for Chinook Salmon population production and the Lake Michigan fishery. First, we conducted a historical analysis to determine if life history characteristics changed through time as the Chinook Salmon population became increasingly naturalized. Next, we conducted a 2-year field study of naturalized and hatchery stocked Chinook Salmon spawning populations to quantify differences in fecundity, egg size, timing of spawning, and size at maturity. In general, our results did not indicate significant life history divergence between naturalized and hatchery-stocked Chinook Salmon populations in Lake Michigan. Although historical changes in adult sex ratio were correlated with the proportion of naturalized individuals, changes in weight at maturity were better explained by density-dependent factors. The field study revealed no divergence in fecundity, timing of spawning, or size at maturity, and only small differences in egg size (hatchery > naturalized). For the near future, our results suggest that the limited life history differences observed between Chinook Salmon of naturalized and hatchery origin will not lead to large differences in characteristics important to the dynamics of the population or fishery.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Comparing life history characteristics of Lake Michigan’s naturalized and stocked Chinook Salmon
Series title:
North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI:
10.1080/02755947.2016.1204392
Volume:
36
Issue:
5
Year Published:
2016
Language:
English
Publisher:
Taylor & Francis
Publisher location:
Abingdon, UK
Contributing office(s):
Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description:
13 p.
First page:
1106
Last page:
1118
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Lake Michigan