19 July 2024
Salmon mortality survival: Hatchery aids vulnerable fish

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Understanding Salmon Mortality: Researchers’ Efforts to Improve Survival Rates

Salmon are iconic fish known for their remarkable journey from freshwater rivers to the vast ocean and back. However, the survival of these migrating salmon faces significant challenges, particularly in areas like Burrard Inlet, which have been identified as mortality hot-spots for juvenile salmon. Recent research conducted by the University of British Columbia sheds light on the mortality rates of coho salmon smolts released directly into the ocean from community-run hatcheries like Mossom Creek Hatchery in Port Moody, B.C.

Challenges in Salmon Survival

When young coho smolts are released into the ocean, their chances of survival are uncertain. Mossom Creek Hatchery releases thousands of coho smolts each year, but researchers found that only 60% of these fish remained alive just three kilometers from the release point. As the fish journeyed further, the survival rates dropped significantly, with fewer than one-quarter reaching the Lions Gate Bridge 20 kilometers away. The primary cause of mortality was found to be predators lurking near the release location, highlighting the critical need to address this issue to improve salmon survival rates.

Insights from Acoustic Telemetry

To better understand the challenges faced by migrating salmon, researchers used acoustic telemetry to tag and track the coho smolts on their journey. This technology provided valuable insights into the survival rates of these fish in the ocean environment. The study’s findings, published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management, not only confirmed the presence of a mortality hot-spot in Burrard Inlet but also suggested potential strategies to enhance the survival chances of juvenile salmon.

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Community-Led Conservation Efforts

Community-run hatcheries like Mossom Creek play a crucial role in salmon conservation efforts by engaging volunteers and the public in the protection of local salmon populations. Dr. Scott Hinch, who leads the Pacific Salmon Ecology and Conservation Lab at UBC, emphasized the importance of supporting these hatcheries to improve the survival of salmon during their migration. By testing different release locations, including marine sites and directly into creeks like Mossom Creek, hatcheries can explore innovative approaches to enhance the survival rates of released smolts and monitor their progress until they return as adults.

The research conducted by UBC researchers highlights the challenges faced by migrating salmon, particularly in mortality hot-spots like Burrard Inlet. By leveraging technology, community engagement, and innovative release strategies, efforts are underway to improve the survival rates of coho smolts and ensure the sustainability of salmon populations for future generations.

Links to additional Resources:

1. NOAA Fisheries 2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 3. Salmon Recovery

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Salmon, Coho salmon, Acoustic telemetry

Salmon (; pl.: salmon) is the common name for several commercially important species of euryhaline ray-finned fish from the genera Salmo and Oncorhynchus of the family Salmonidae, native to tributaries of the North Atlantic (Salmo) and North Pacific (Oncorhynchus) basins. Other closely related fish in the same family include trout,...
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Coho salmon
The coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch; Karuk: achvuun) is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family and one of the five Pacific salmon species. Coho salmon are also known as silver salmon or "silvers". The scientific species name is based on the Russian common name kizhuch (кижуч).
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History of wildlife tracking technology
The history of wildlife tracking technology involves the evolution of technologies that have been used to monitor, track, and locate many different types of wildlife. Many individuals have an interest in tracking wildlife, including biologists, scientific researchers, and conservationists. Biotelemetry is "the instrumental technique for gaining and transmitting information from...
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