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Fingerling rainbow trout (6.9 to 11.6 cm fork length) maintained at 12° C were either: fed restricted rations (3% of dry body weight/day) for 16 weeks, or starved for 3 weeks (14.5% weight loss), or for 13 weeks (32.5% weight loss). Whole body wet weights and dry weights (as % of wet weight), and wet and dry weights of tissues (heart, spleen, liver, skin, gonad, gut, visceral fat, and ‘carcase’) resulting from these treatments were compared to corresponding weights of an ‘initial sample’. Visceral fat was completely utilized during both short and long-term starvation and gut was significantly reduced in the extended starvation group.

During subsequent recovery growth on full rations, following food deprivation, fish grew at approximately the same rate as fully-fed controls, which had not suffered food deprivation, as regards body wet weight and condition (K), but tended to surpass controls in % dry weight.

Heart, liver, gonad, gut and visceral fat also increased during recovery growth in a manner suggestive of overcompensation in response to former food deprivation. Gut, skin and carcase dry weights were less in the control, and in the 14.5% weight loss groups following recovery growth than in those in 3% rations and in the severely starved group, indicating that the effects of slow growth resulting from limited rations resemble those of severe starvation more than those of limited starvation.