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Conserv Biol. 2007 Feb;21(1):181-90.

Reproductive success of captive-bred steelhead trout in the wild: evaluation of three hatchery programs in the Hood river.

Author information

1
Department of Zoology, 3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA. arakih@science.oregonstate.edu

Abstract

Population supplementation programs that release captive-bred offspring into the wild to boost the size of endangered populations are now in place for many species. The use of hatcheries for supplementing salmonid populations has become particularly popular. Nevertheless, whether such programs actually increase the size of wild populations remains unclear, and predictions that supplementation fish drag down the fitness of wild fish remain untested. To address these issues, we performed DNA-based parentage analyses on almost complete samples of anadromous steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in the Hood River in Oregon (U.S.A.). Steelhead from a supplementation hatchery (reared in a supplementation hatchery and then allowed to spawn naturally in the wild) had reproductive success indistinguishable from that of wild fish. In contrast, fish from a traditional hatchery (nonlocal origin, multiple generations in hatcheries) breeding in the same river showed significantly lower fitness than wild fish. In addition, crosses between wild fish and supplementation fish were as reproductively successful as those between wild parents. Thus, there was no sign that supplementation fish drag down the fitness of wild fish by breeding with them for a single generation. On the other hand, crosses between hatchery fish of either type (traditional or supplementation) were less fit than expected, suggesting a possible interaction effect. These are the first data to show that a supplementation program with native brood stock can provide a single-generation boost to the size of a natural steelhead population without obvious short-term fitness costs. The long-term effects of population supplementation remain untested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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