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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Leetown, West Virginia » Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342078

Research Project: Developing and Refining Technologies for Sustainable Fish Growth in Closed Containment Systems

Location: Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture Research

Title: The effects of swimming exercise and dissolved oxygen on growth performance, fin condition and precocious maturation of early-rearing Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Author
item Waldrop, Thomas - Freshwater Institute
item Summerfelt, Steven - Freshwater Institute
item Mazik, Patricia - U.s. Geological Survey (USGS)
item Good, Christopher - Freshwater Institute

Submitted to: Aquaculture Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2017
Publication Date: 1/8/2018
Citation: Waldrop, T., Summerfelt, S.T., Mazik, P., Good, C. 2018. The effects of swimming exercise and dissolved oxygen on growth performance, fin condition and precocious maturation of early-rearing Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Aquaculture Research. 49(2):801-808. https://doi.org/10.1111/are.13511.

Interpretive Summary: Swimming exercise, typically measured in body-lengths per second (BL/s), and dissolved oxygen (DO), are important environmental variables in fish culture. While there is an obvious physiological association between these two parameters, their interaction has not been adequately studied in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Because exercise and DO are variables that can be easily manipulated in modern aquaculture systems, we sought to assess the impact of these parameters, alone and in combination, on the performance, health, and welfare of juvenile Atlantic salmon. From the results of our research, we conclude that both increased swimming speed and higher DO were associated with improved growth performance, although no significant differences were noted in survival and feed conversion. We also observed that caudal fin damage was associated with low DO, while right pectoral fin damage was associated with higher swimming speed. Finally, precocious male sexual maturation was associated with low swimming speed. These results suggest that providing exercise and dissolved oxygen at saturation during Atlantic salmon early rearing can result in improved growth performance and a lower incidence of precocious parr.

Technical Abstract: Atlantic salmon fry were stocked into twelve circular 0.5 m3 tanks in a flow-through system and exposed to either high (1.5-2 body-lengths per second, or BL/s) or low (less than 0.5 BL/s) swimming speeding and high (100% saturation) or low (70% saturation) dissolved oxygen (DO) while being raised from 10g to approximately 350g in weight. Throughout this period, the impacts of exercise and DO concentration on growth, feed conversion, survival, and fin condition were assessed. Overall, both increased swimming speed and higher DO were independently associated with a statistically significant increase in growth performance (p less than 0.05); however, no significant differences were noted in survival and feed conversion. Caudal fin damage was associated with low DO, while right pectoral fin damage was associated with higher swimming speed. Precocious male sexual maturation was associated with low swimming speed. We conclude that providing exercise and dissolved oxygen at saturation during Atlantic salmon early rearing can result in improved growth performance and a lower incidence of male precocity.