The influence of the freshwater environment and the biological characteristics of Atlantic salmon smolts on their subsequent marine survival.

Author Russell, I.C., Aprahamian, M.W., Barry, J., Davidson, I.C., Fiske, P., Ibbotson, A.T., Kennedy, R.J., Maclean, J.C., Moore, A., Otero, J., Potter, E.C.E., & Todd, C.D.
Citation Russell, I.C., Aprahamian, M.W., Barry, J., Davidson, I.C., Fiske, P., Ibbotson, A.T., Kennedy, R.J., Maclean, J.C., Moore, A., Otero, J., Potter, E.C.E., & Todd, C.D. (2012). The influence of the freshwater environment and the biological characteristics of Atlantic salmon smolts on their subsequent marine survival. ICES (International Council for Exploration of the Sea) Journal of Marine Science, 69: 1563-1573.

Abstract

Atlantic salmon have declined markedly in the past 20-30 years throughout their range. Much of the focus for this decline has been on increased mortality during the marine phase of the life cycle. However, marine mortality does not operate independently of factors acting in freshwater and the biological characteristics of smolts migrating to sea. Over recent decades, juvenile salmon in many rivers have grown faster and migrated to sea at a younger age, so have been typically smaller than earlier. This has shortened the generation time for many individuals and may dampen the impact of increased marine mortality, assuming that expected higher in-river survival prior to smolting is not out-weighed by increased mortality of smaller smolts at sea. Over the same period, smolt run-timing across the geographic range has been earlier, at an average rate of almost 3 d per decade. This has given rise to growing concerns about smolts potentially missing the optimum environmental migration 'window', the timing of which may also be changing. Contaminants and other factors operating in freshwater also impact smolt quality with adverse consequences for their physiological readiness for life at sea. Given that managers have very limited ability to influence the broad scale factors limiting salmon survival at sea, it is vital that freshwater habitats are managed to both maximize the smolt output and to minimize the impact of factors acting in freshwater that may compromise salmon once they migrate to sea.

Cookie Policy

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better online experience. If you continue to use our site without changing your browser settings, we'll assume you are happy to receive cookies. Please read our cookie policy for more information.

Do not show this message again