Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7446
Title: Imprinting of hatchery-reared salmon to targeted spawning locations: A new embryonic imprinting paradigm for hatchery programs
Author: Andrew H. Dittman, T. N. Pearsons, D. May, R. Couture, David L.G. Noakes
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: Fisheries
Volume: 40
Issue: 3
Pages: 114-123
Keywords: salmon,imprinting,homing,hatcheries

Straying by hatchery-reared salmon is a major concern for the conservation and recovery of many salmon species and populations. Fisheries managers have attempted to minimize negative ecological and genetic interactions between hatchery and wild fish by utilizing parr-smolt acclimation facilities to ensure successful olfactory imprinting and homing fidelity. However, the effectiveness of offsite acclimation for returning adults to targeted locations has been mixed. Here, we propose an alternative embryonic imprinting approach wherein salmon are exposed to targeted waters transferred to their rearing hatchery thus avoiding the need for costly acclimation facilities. Both laboratory and field studies have indicated that the period of hatching and emergence from the natal gravel is a sensitive period for olfactory imprinting. We also describe experiments to assess whether water can be successfully transferred, stored and treated for pathogens without jeopardizing its olfactory integrity. Finally, we describe alternative approaches using artificial odors as homing cues.

Theme: Recovery and rebuilding of marine and coastal species
Foci: Evaluate the effects of artificial propagation on recovery, rebuilding and sustainability of marine and anadromous species.
Describe the relationships between human activities and species recovery, rebuilding and sustainability.