Survival and growth rates of juvenile salmonids reared in lowland streams

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The aim of this study was to assess the efficiency of propagating juvenile trout, Salmo trutta L. in small lowland streams and to evaluate the impact of the environmental conditions in the streams on the juvenile fish. Brown trout (Salmo trutta fario) and sea trout (Salmo trutta trutta) early fry fed under controlled conditions were used to stock third-order lowland streams. During summer, fall, and spring catches, fry were counted, measured, and weighed. The following parameters were calculated using the data collected: fry stocking density (ind. m-2); survival; specific mortality rate (SMR); length range; mean specimen length; body weight; mean body weight; specific growth rate (SGR); body condition (Fulton’s index). The ichthyological studies were accompanied by simultaneous analyses of environmental conditions that were performed monthly, and benthic macroinvertebrates were sampled in spring and fall. No differences were observed in the biological parameters analyzed between sea trout and brown trout. Variability in environmental parameters such as temperature, oxygenation, conductivity, and stream width and depth were associated with differentiation in the biological parameters of the fry. The results clearly indicate that the considerable potential of small lowland streams for the propagation of salmonid juvenile stages is currently underexploited.

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