Genetic introgression between wild and stocked brown trout in the Douro River basin, Spain


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The genetic diversity of Spanish brown trout is currently threatened by stocking with exogenous brown trout from Central and Northern Europe. In the Douro River basin 25% of the analysed populations in the present study showed introgression by genes of hatchery origin. The mean introgression estimated by the single locus approach (S) varied from 0 to 22% among populations, with a mean value of 3%. The hatchery allele markers were absent in populations where stocking ceased in 1993. However, the introgression effect was observed in all populations stocked until 1998. It seems that cessation of stocking is a good measure for restoring native populations. A thorough review of published and present data of genetic interactions between wild and stocked brown trout in Spanish rivers indicates different levels of introgression between basins. The absence of a clear geographical pattern in the introgression level suggests that ecological interactions and local stocking programmes may play an important role in stocking success. Finally, several guidelines are provided for conservation and management of native brown trout populations in Spanish rivers.