Migratory behaviour and growth of hatchery-reared post-smolt Atlantic salmon Salmo salar



Individually lagged, 1+ and 2+ hatchery-reared smolts of Atlantic salmon were released in spring and early summer at the mouth of the R. Imsa, south-western Norway. The post-smolts moved mainly northwards in the sea with the coastal current. The estimated mean migratory speed (±s.d.) of those captured in the sea along the Norwegian coast was 7.45 (± 6.26) km day −1; in the fjords it was 1.63 (± 2.33) km day−2. Many of the post-smohs ascended rivers the same year as released; 37.3% of the total number recaptured were caught in R. Imsa, upstream from the site of release, and 5.8% were caught in other rivers throughout middle and southern parts of Norway. The fish recaptured in rivers was probably sexually mature and entered rivers to spawn. Mean specific growth rate for post-smolts caught in the sea was higher than for those caught in R. Imsa (P <0.001) but not for those caught in other rivers (P> 0.05). Post-smolts ascending R. Imsa were smaller at release than those ascending other rivers. However, there was no size difference at release between post-smolts captured in the sea and those recaptured in rivers other than the R. Imsa.