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Is Atlantic salmon production limited by number of territories?

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Thirty Atlantic salmon Salmo salar parr (mean 135 mm total length, LT) in the River Alta, Norway, were radio‐tagged and tracked during a 11–13 day period. The parr stayed within defined home ranges with a 95% probability of localization within an average area of 1286 m2(241–3484 m2). On average, each parr had overlapping home ranges with 7·7 other parr, and the overlap between pairs of fish covered on average 24% of their home range areas. Mean length of the river stretch used was 90 m (22–383 m). On average, during 38%(16–77%) of the tracking surveys, the fish had moved >10 m since the previous survey. Mean total distance moved during the whole study was 402 m (208–862 m). The Atlantic salmon were most often recorded in riffles, but 27% of the parr alternated between riffles and pools. The extensive movements, flexible habitat utilization and relatively large home ranges, together with the fact that all the parr had home ranges partly overlapping with other radio‐tagged parr, indicate a flexible and variable behaviour and, thereby, a more complex social structure than a rigid defence of a fixed territory. Thus, Atlantic salmon production seems not to be limited by the highest potential number of territories for large parr in a given area.

Keywords: Salmo salar; habitat utilization; movements; parr; radio telemetry

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Tungasletta 2, NO-7485 Trondheim, Norway

Publication date: October 1, 2004


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