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Early marine growth of juvenile Fraser River sockeye salmon ( Oncorhynchus nerka ) in relation to juvenile pink ( Oncorhynchus gorbuscha ) and sockeye salmon abundance

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Mortality of salmon in the ocean is considered to be greatest during the first few months and that its magnitude is an inverse of growth. First year marine growth (M1) in two Fraser River sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations was positively correlated, reflecting a shared oceanic experience as postsmolts. M1 declined abruptly in both populations after 1977, corresponding to a well-documented change in climate. The reduction in average M1 was not accompanied by a detectable reduction in average survival. In both populations, M1 was significantly greater in even years when juvenile pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) are abundant in the Strait of Georgia, suggesting that interspecific competition there has little effect on M1. All correlations of M1 with regional pink salmon or sockeye salmon abundances, lagged to align ocean entry years, were negative, but few (pink) or none (sockeye) were statistically significant. The negative correlations were due to the long-term changes (pink salmon abundance increasing, sockeye M1 smaller). Odd year dominance of juvenile pink salmon in northern British Columbia, Canada, is persistent and corresponds with the biennial pattern of M1 variation in Fraser River sockeye salmon and may be the source of the significant odd–even year line effect on M1.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: North Pacific Marine Science Organization, c/o Institute of Ocean Sciences, P.O. 6000, Sidney, BC, Canada. 2: Pacific Salmon Commission, 600 – 1155 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1B5, Canada.

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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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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