Evaluation of a new semi-natural incubation technique for Atlantic salmon Salmo salar fry
The incubation environment had a significant effect on fork length (LF) and body mass (M) of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar fry at the time of emergence. Fry that were incubated in a new incubator design, that mimics the conditions in a natural redd (the Bamberger-Box), achieved significantly greater and attained a significantly higher M than those reared in conventional hatchery troughs for control. Fewer fry from the Bamberger-Boxes had visible deformities compared with those from the hatchery troughs. Results were consistent for five consecutive seasons using both wild and domesticated broodstock from genetically different origins. Survival from the eyed embryo stage in the Bamberger-Boxes and hatchery troughs was >93% during normal climatic conditions. Only larvae reared in Bamberger-Boxes, however, survived abnormally high water temperatures during one test season. The results demonstrate that the Bamberger-Box is an effective alternative to the conventional incubation technology.