Post-release feeding and growth of hatchery-reared Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus: relevance to stocking effectiveness
The feeding and growth of hatchery-reared (HR) Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus of c. 100 mm total length (LT) released off the coast of Fukushima, Japan, were investigated. From 2 to 15 days after release, the HR P. olivaceus frequently exhibited high empty-stomach frequency (>40%), low stomach-content mass (<1% of body mass), reduced somatic condition from release (c.−10%) and negligible growth. Thereafter, empty-stomach frequency decreased, the stomach-content mass of HR fish increased to 2–8% of body mass, the somatic condition recovered and growth rate increased to 0·5–1·5 mm day−1. Prey items were initially mysids, shifting thereafter to fishes such as the Japanese anchovy Engraulis japonica, as observed similarly in wild counterparts. The proportion of mysids decreased with time after release irrespective of size at release, indicating the importance of mysids for adaptation to natural food. Recapture rates at age 1 year, derived from fish market surveys, varied greatly among release years (4–11%). The variation in the recapture rates was largely accounted for by the post-release growth rates (r2 = 0·5), suggesting a relationship between the post-release growth of HR fish and their survival and subsequent stocking effectiveness.
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