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Population and size-specific distribution of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in the Baltic Sea over five decades.


ABSTRACT: Population-specific assessment and management of anadromous fish at sea requires detailed information about the distribution at sea over ontogeny for each population. However, despite a long history of mixed-stock sea fisheries on Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, migration studies showing that some salmon populations feed in different regions of the Baltic Sea and variation in dynamics occurs among populations feeding in the Baltic Sea, such information is often lacking. Also, current assessment of Baltic salmon assumes equal distribution at sea and therefore equal responses to changes in off-shore sea fisheries. Here, we test for differences in distribution at sea among and within ten Atlantic salmon Salmo salar populations originating from ten river-specific hatcheries along the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, using individual data from >125,000 tagged salmon, recaptured over five decades. We show strong population and size-specific differences in distribution at sea, varying between year classes and between individuals within year classes. This suggests that Atlantic salmon in the Baltic Sea experience great variation in environmental conditions and exploitation rates over ontogeny depending on origin and that current assessment assumptions about equal exploitation rates in the offshore fisheries and a shared environment at sea are not valid. Thus, our results provide additional arguments and necessary information for implementing population-specific management of salmon, also when targeting life stages at sea.

SUBMITTER: Jacobson P 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7028083 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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