Reduced recruitment performance in natural populations of anadromous salmonids associated with hatchery-reared fish M.W. Chilcote, K.W. Goodson, and M.R. Falcy

Abstract: We found a negative relationship between the reproductive performance in natural, anadromous populations of steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), coho salmon (O. kisutch), and Chinook salmon (O. tshawytscha), and the propor- tion of hatchery fish in the spawning population. We used intrinsic productivity as estimated from fitting a variety of re- cruitment models to abundance data for each population as our indicator of reproductive performance. The magnitude of this negative relationship is such that we predict the recruitment performance for a population composed entirely of hatch- ery fish would be 0.128 of that for a population composed entirely of wild fish. The effect of hatchery fish on reproductive performance was the same among all three species. Further, the impact of hatchery fish from ‘‘wild type’’ hatchery brood- stocks was no less adverse than hatchery fish from traditional, domesticated broodstocks. We also found no support for the hypothesis that a population’s reproductive performance was affected by the length of exposure to hatchery fish. In most cases, measures that minimize the interactions between wild and hatchery fish will be the best long-term conservation strategy for wild populations.

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