Extensive immigration from compensatory hatchery releases into wild Atlantic salmon population in the Baltic sea: Spatio-temporal analysis over 18 years

  • Vasemägi A
  • Gross R
  • Paaver T
 et al. 
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Genetic homogenization has been recognized as a serious threat in an increasing number of species, including many salmonid fishes. We assessed the rate and impact of immigration from the main hatchery stocks of Atlantic salmon in the Gulf of Bothnia into one of the largest wild salmon populations in the Baltic Sea, the River Vindelälven, within a temporal framework of 18 years (from 1985-2003). We provide genetic evidence based on mtDNA and microsatellite markers, using mixed-stock analysis, that a large proportion (66%) of fin-damaged spawners (n=181) caught in the Ume/Vindelälven during 1997-2003 originated from the hatcheries in the Rivers Angermanälven, Luleälven and Ljusnan. The maximum-likelihood estimate of immigration rate from these hatcheries into the wild Vindelälven population was 0.068 (95% CI 0.021-0.128) over the studied time period (1985-2003) and reached up to a quarter (m=0.249, 95% CI 0.106-0.419) of the total population during 1993-2000. This resulted in significant (P

Author-supplied keywords

  • Gene flow
  • Genetic homogenization
  • Mixed stock analysis
  • Salmo salar, microsatellite
  • Straying

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