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Potential benefits of a conservation hatchery program for supplementing Oregon coast coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) populations: a stochastic model investigation

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This study developed a stochastic life cycle model to simulate idealized supplementation strategies to investigate the following question: under what circumstances could hatchery fish stocking contribute to the recovery of Oregon coast coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)? Simulations were used to find a solution space, defined by the attributes of wild and hatchery-bred salmon, their offspring, and their environments, where hatchery fish could supplement natural production without further depressing it until natural or human factors restricting production were relieved. These simulations suggest that short-duration, tightly controlled, low-intensity conservation hatchery programs designed to minimize genetic and ecological risks may yield minor short-term increases in adult coho salmon abundance while posing significant ecological and genetic risks. No solution space was found that indicated clear long-term benefits from such a supplementation program. Of all the management actions modeled, habitat restoration offered by far the largest and only permanent gains in coho salmon abundance while posing no genetic or ecological risk to the fish. The modeled benefits of habitat restoration were significant regardless of assumptions made about the fitness of hatchery fish and their offspring.

Notre étude met au point un modèle stochastique de cycle biologique qui simule les stratégies optimales d'empoissonnement afin de connaître sous quelles conditions l'ensemencement de poissons de pisciculture peut contribuer à la récupération du saumon coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) sur la côte d'Oregon. Les simulations servent à définir un espace de solution, défini par les caractéristiques des saumons élevés en nature et en pisciculture, de leurs rejetons et de leurs environnements, dans lequel les poissons de pisciculture puissent suppléer à la production naturelle sans la réduire davantage jusqu'à ce que les facteurs naturels et anthropiques qui restreignent la production naturelle soient allégés. Les simulations révèlent que des programmes strictement contrôlés de conservation par pisciculture de courte durée et de faible intensité et conçus pour minimiser les risques génétiques et écologiques peuvent produire des augmentations mineures transitoires de l'abondance des saumons coho adultes, tout en posant des risques écologiques et génétiques significatifs. Il n'existe pas d'espace de solution qui comporte des bénéfices clairs et à long terme d'un tel programme d'empoissonnements. Parmi toutes les actions de gestion modélisées, la restauration de l'habitat offre les gains de loin les plus importants, et les seuls qui soient permanents, dans l'abondance des saumons coho, sans poser de risque génétique ni écologique aux poissons. Les bénéfices de la restauration de l'habitat dans le modèle sont significatifs, quelles que soient les présuppositions faites au sujet de la fitness des poissons de piscicultures et de leurs rejetons.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2005

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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