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An Experimental Study of the Reproductive Behaviour and Success of Farmed and Wild Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)
I. A. Fleming, B. Jonsson, M. R. Gross and A. Lamberg
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 33, No. 4 (Aug., 1996), pp. 893-905
Published by: British Ecological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404960
Page Count: 13
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1. Escape of cultured organisms into natural ecosystems may threaten wild populations both ecologically and genetically. In the aquaculture industry, farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) often escape and enter the spawning grounds of wild salmon. We report experiments to assess the competitive and reproductive abilities of fifth-generation farmed salmon and their potential impacts upon wild salmon. 2. The farmed and wild females had similar levels of competitive behaviour; however, they differed in reproductive behaviour and success. Farmed females displayed less breeding behaviour, constructed fewer nests, retained a greater weight of eggs unspawned, were less efficient at nest covering, incurred more nest destruction, and suffered greater egg mortality than wild females. As a result, farmed females had less than one-third of the reproductive success of wild females. 3. The farmed males were even less successful than the farmed females in competition with the wild fish. They were less aggressive, courted less, partook in fewer spawnings, and achieved only an estimated one to three percentage of the reproductive success of the wild males. 4. The farmed males exhibited inappropriate mating behaviour, that led to poor fertilization success, even in the absence of competition with wild males. 5. Adult farmed fish are thus likely to be relatively unsuccessful in natural environments due to a competitive and reproductive inferiority apparently resulting from domestication.
Journal of Applied Ecology © 1996 British Ecological Society