Journal Article

The emerging role of climate in post-smolt growth of Atlantic salmon

Kevin D. Friedland, Gerald Chaput and Julian C. MacLean

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 62, issue 7, pages 1338-1349
Published in print January 2005 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2005 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
The emerging role of climate in post-smolt growth of Atlantic salmon

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Though it is well established that mortality during the post-smolt year is critical in shaping recruitment patterns in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.), the controlling mechanism for North Atlantic stocks remains elusive. The emerging paradigm is based on relationships between survival and ocean thermal conditions during the early marine phase. The survival of post-smolts from both Europe and North America has been correlated to sea surface temperature conditions during their first month at sea. In addition, data for European fish support the hypothesis that growth mediates survival during that time. Thus, the working model for a salmon recruitment mechanism is analogous to those proposed for other fish species. We present growth data for two stocks, the Girnock Burn, which is a tributary to the River Dee, Scotland, and the Margaree River, Canada. Circuli spacing data for Girnock Burn fish suggest post-smolt growth is negatively correlated with temperature in the migration corridors during the first months at sea, while post-smolt growth of Margaree fish appears to be positively correlated with temperature. Growth is either patterned by a physiological response to an optimal temperature, or is co-varying with some ecosystem effect on growth, and the growth response might affect mortality and maturation of the stocks.

Keywords: Atlantic salmon; climate; growth; post-smolt

Journal Article.  5376 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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