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Experimental investigation of the success of stocked, domestic brown trout and their effects on wild brown trout in upland and lowland rivers

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Abstract:

The stocking of adult, domestic brown trout (DBT)(Salmo trutta L.) to supplement angling catches is a common practice. There is increasing concern, however, over the effects of such stockings on indigenous wild brown trout (WBT) populations. This paper describes an experimental field trial to explore the success of stocked DBT and their effects on WBT growth and abundance. DBT adults were stocked into upland rain‐fed and lowland spring‐fed streams. Three stocking treatments and a control were replicated six times for each of the two stream categories. In spring, baseline adult (defined as >200 mm LF) WBT densities were increased by 25, 50 and 100% using equal quantities of two different strains of DBT from two large suppliers. All DBT were measured, weighed and tagged before being stocked. The stocking procedure approximated to current stocking practice. A total of 48 500 m experimental sites were used. The abundance of WBT was estimated at each survey site in the summer prior to stocking via electrofishing and the depletion method. All WBT captured were measured and weighed. In addition, all WBT >100 mm were tagged. Habitat was assessed using the HABSCORE model. Post‐treatment monitoring was undertaken in the summer following stocking. Data will be presented regarding the effects of the stocking treatments on the growth and abundance of WBT as well as the strain‐dependent performance of DBT across all sites and on a river type‐specific basis. The suitability of using HABSCORE to formulate appropriate stocking densities will be discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.0559e.x

Affiliations: 1: The Game Conservancy Trust, Fordingbridge, Hampshire SP6 1EF, U.K.; 2: Department of Life Sciences, King's College, Franklin-Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NN, U.K.

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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