Variation in some biological characteristics of British sea trout, Salmo trutta L.


  • *Stock is used in this work to refer to fish which are collected within a small geographical area such as a single river system) or, where samples are taken in coastal nets, fish from neighbouring atchments.

  • Finnock is synonymous with post-smolt; see Allan & Ritter, 1977.


Almost 50 assessments of British sea trout are available in the literature and the objective in this work is to examine variation in the parameters by which the fish are usually described and to discover biological criteria on which stocks may be classified. Eight statistics are common to the majority of stock evaluations: mean smolt age, proportion of finnock to spawn, mean age of a stock at first maturation, size achieved by the smolt at migration, rate of growth at sea, survival at sea, diversity of age categories in a stock and condition factor of sea-run fish. When the influence of each factor on the others is tested two characteristics emerge as being of key importance in the biology of adult sea-trout; the life expectancy and the weight: percentage previous spawners in a sample. The distribution of stocks is discussed in this context and two main groupings of British sea trout, corresponding geographically with the Irish sea and the Atlantic sea-board, are proposed.