The interannual variations and general state of the food supply of Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) in the 2000s in the northwestern Pacific Ocean (including the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk) were analyzed based on indirect characteristics that indicate the variability of their forage base, feeding habits, growth, and biomass. A new index for the quantitative evaluation of food supply was suggested. The food supply of the Pacific salmon during the 2000s was found to be sufficient to maintain the normal functioning of populations. With high abundance of Pacific salmon, the food supply tended to decrease. However, this caused no negative consequences for the survival of major salmon stocks during the marine period of life and, as a rule, no marked decrease in the food consumption and growth rates of fish. A relative increase in food competition was compensated by adaptive changes in the diet and diel feeding rhythm of salmon. With the shortage of preferred food organisms (amphipods, euphausiids, and pteropods), Pacific salmon changed to consuming minor prey (copepods and chaetognaths), and numerous mesopelagic species of macroplankton and micronekton in the evening hours.
Russian Journal of Marine Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 3, 2014
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