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The effect of stocking size on the first winter survival of whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus (L.), in the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea

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The anadromous whitefish, Coregonus lavaretus (L.), is the most numerous fish species stocked in the Gulf of Bothnia, Baltic Sea. One-summer-old-whitefish fingerlings are mostly 8–10 cm long when released annually in September–October, whereas the wild whitefish are 10–12 cm at that time. About 6 million, one-summer-old, spray-marked, whitefish were released in the northern and central parts of the Gulf in 1995–1998. To study the effect of the stocking length on the survival of the marked fish, the length of the recaptured whitefish as 1-year-olds was back-calculated. Altogether 1106 whitefish recaptured in the Gulf of Bothnia were analysed. The back-calculated length was slightly greater than the stocking length but not as large as the length of the wild fish. In the central part of the Gulf of Bothnia, where the mean stocking length was more than 10 cm, the back-calculated length was 10.5–11.1 cm. In the northern part of the Gulf the mean stocking length varied between 8.8 and 10.0 cm annually, and the corresponding back-calculated mean lengths were 9.3–9.7 cm. It also seemed that bigger fingerlings started their feeding migration earlier or they migrated faster than the smaller ones to the southern parts of the Gulf of Bothnia.
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Keywords: growth; length at 1-year-old; spray-marking; stocking; whitefish

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Bothnian Bay Fisheries Research Station, Simo, Finland, 2: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Quark Fisheries Research Station, Vaasa, Finland, 3: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Kalajoki Unit, Rahja, Finland

Publication date: 2002-04-01

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