Growth and mortality of Arctic charr and European whitefish reared at low temperatures
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This comparative study explores how low temperatures affect the mortality and growth of first generation hatchery-reared progeny of subarctic populations of Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus L.) and European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus L.). Replicate fish groups where held under simulated natural light regimes (70°N) at three constant temperatures (1, 3 and 6°C). The mortality of Arctic charr was low (≤1.4%) at all temperature treatments, whereas the mortality of whitefish increased with decreasing temperature from 6% at 6°C to 33% at 1°C. The Arctic charr exhibited higher growth rates than whitefish at all three temperature regimes. All groups of Arctic charr increased in weight, whereas whitefish held at 1°C did not gain weight throughout the experimental period of 133 days. Arctic charr exhibited a large intraspecific variability in growth leading to large variations in size-structure, whereas whitefish in contrast showed very homogenous growth and size-structure patterns; a dissimilarity probably related to species-specific differences in antagonistic behaviour. Evidently, Arctic charr are more cold water adapted than whitefish and are able to maintain growth at extremely low temperatures. Arctic charr thus appear to be the most suitable species for aquaculture at low water temperatures.
KeywordsGrowth Mortality Coldwater adaptation Salvelinus alpinus Coregonus lavaretus
The project has been financially supported by the Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø and the Northern Periphery Programme project Sustainable Aquaculture of Arctic charr (North Charr). Laina Dalsbø, Cesilie Lien, Jan Evjen and Anders Klemetsen helped during fieldwork to sample the brood fish. We would also like to thank Tromsø Research Station for their technical assistance and Philip James from NIWA for grammar corrections on the manuscript.
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