Journal Article

Exceptional marine survival of pink salmon that entered the marine environment in 2003 suggests that farmed Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon can coexist successfully in a marine ecosystem on the Pacific coast of Canada

Richard J. Beamish, Simon Jones, Chrys-Ellen Neville, Ruston Sweeting, Grace Karreman, Sonja Saksida and Elysha Gordon

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 7, pages 1326-1337
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.icesjms.2006.04.011
Exceptional marine survival of pink salmon that entered the marine environment in 2003 suggests that farmed Atlantic salmon and Pacific salmon can coexist successfully in a marine ecosystem on the Pacific coast of Canada

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Juvenile pink salmon that entered a marine ecosystem along the eastern margin of Queen Charlotte Strait in 2003 and returned as adults in 2004 had very high marine survival. The early seaward migration and midsummer rearing in 2003 were in an area containing 16 active Atlantic salmon farms. Two species of sea louse, Lepeophtheirus salmonis and Caligus clemensi, were commonly found on farmed salmon and juvenile Pacific salmon during the early rearing period of the pink salmon. Mobile L. salmonis and C. clemensi were most abundant on farmed Atlantic salmon from February to May and on pink salmon in June. Chalimus stages were the dominant stages on pink salmon to the end of May. Mobile stages of C. clemensi were the dominant stages and species of sea louse on farmed Atlantic salmon and pink salmon at about the same time in June. DNA studies showed that local juvenile pink salmon were in the area until August. The exceptional returns of the brood year suggest that pink salmon populations and farmed Atlantic salmon coexisted successfully during 2003 within an environment that included sea lice and farmed Atlantic salmon. The processes responsible for the high marine survival cannot be identified with certainty, but they could include increased freshwater discharge in 2003, which may have resulted in lower salinity less favourable to sea louse production, increased inflow of nutrient-rich water to the study area, and the introduction of a Provincial Action Plan that required mandatory louse monitoring and established a fallowed migration corridor for pink salmon.

Keywords: management; marine survival; pink salmon; salmon farms; sea lice

Journal Article.  7872 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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