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Seasonal growth of wild Atlantic salmon juveniles and implications on age at smoltification

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Abstract:

The seasonal growth trajectories of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar juveniles by age group within the Margaree River, Canada, are described. Circuli counts from scales were used to infer growth rates at different ages and these were used to predict the proportions of age 2‐ and 3‐year old smolts from different portions of the watershed. In the wild Atlantic salmon juveniles from the Margaree River, there was no bimodality in fork length frequencies and no 1 year old smolts were produced. Water temperature differences during the growing season were insufficient to explain the differences in growth rates and size at age among the sites sampled. There was a positive association between the growth rate in the first year and the subsequent age at smoltification. In the Margaree River, differences in tributary specific growth rates and size at age were expected to produce important differences in the relative ages at smoltification.

Keywords: Salmo salar; age at smoltification; seasonal growth

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2005.00865.x

Affiliations: 1: IfM-Geomar, Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften, an der Universität Kiel, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany and 2: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, P.O. Box 5030, Moncton, New Brunswick, E1C 9B6, Canada

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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