Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 7593
Title: Acclimation enhances postrelease performance of hatchery fall Chinook salmon subyearlings while reducing the potential for interaction with natural fish
Author: Stuart J. Rosenberger, William P. Connor, C. A. Peery, Deborah J. Milks, M. L. Schuck, J. A. Hesse, Steven G. Smith
Publication Year: 2013
Journal: North American Journal of Fisheries Management
Volume: 33
Issue: 3
Pages: 519-528
Keywords: acclimation,fall Chinook,hatchery,migration performance

 One form of prerelease acclimation of hatchery anadromous salmonid Oncorhynchus spp. juveniles is to truck the fish to remote points for extended holding at low densities in rearing vessels (e.g., tanks, raceways, or in-ground ponds) supplied with river water. We conducted a 3-year study to determine whether such acclimation enhanced the postrelease performance of hatchery fall Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha subyearlings and reduced the potential for interaction with natural fall Chinook Salmon subyearlings. In comparison with hatchery subyearlings that were released directly into the lower Snake River just downstream of the acclimation facility, acclimated hatchery subyearlings (1) passed downstream to Lower Monumental Dam (the third dam encountered during seaward migration) faster, (2) passed the dam earlier, and (3) survived from release to the dam tailrace at higher rates. The differences in downstream passage rate and dam passage timing were also much greater between acclimated hatchery subyearlings and natural subyearlings than between directly released hatchery subyearlings and natural subyearlings. Thus, acclimation provided a survival advantage to the hatchery fish while reducing the potential for (1) aggressive and nonaggressive social interactions with natural fish while in transit through the reservoirs associated with Lower Granite, Little Goose, and Lower Monumental dams; and (2) confinement with natural fish at those three dams, where fish collection and raceway holding were followed by transport in tanker trucks. Our findings support acclimation as a method for enhancing postrelease performance of hatchery fall Chinook Salmon subyearlings and reducing their potential interactions with natural conspecifics.

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Theme: Recovery and rebuilding of marine and coastal species
Foci: Develop methods to use physiological, biological and behavioral information to predict population-level processes.