Captive rearing is a conservation strategy where juveniles are collected from the natural environment, reared to maturity in a hatchery environment, and then released back into the natural environment at maturity for volitional spawning. This strategy has been used to produce adult outplants for stock enhancement where natural escapement is poor or capture of adults is difficult. In both Idaho (Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and Maine (Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar), captive rearing programs have been initiated as an experimental strategy to prevent cohort collapse and conserve genetic integrity of select depressed populations. In this paper, we provide an overview of these programs and describe some of the methods used to evaluate the effectiveness of this approach. Behaviors such as habitat selection, courting, and spawn timing were monitored. Data collected for both programs indicate that the captive fish display similar behaviors as their wild conspecifics in terms of habitat selection and spawning, although there were some differences in spawn timing. Evaluations of egg and fry production also indicate that captive-reared adults are successfully spawning and producing offspring. Each program is still waiting on final evaluations of reproductive success through genetic analyses of returning adults, but results so far indicate that this could be an additional captive propagation strategy for depressed populations.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 8, 2014
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