Bottom feeding and net chasing improve foraging behavior in hatchery-reared Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus juveniles for stocking
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We examined the effect of bottom feeding and net chasing as means to improve the maladaptive off-bottom swimming of hatchery-reared Japanese flounder Paralichthys olivaceus juveniles for stock enhancement. Three treatments were tested: (1) a bottom feeding treatment in which fish were fed near the bottom; (2) a net chasing treatment in which fish were chased by a hand net two to four times a day, and (3) a surface feeding treatment in which fish were fed from the surface (control treatment). Foraging behavior at the surface with surface feeding was analyzed 1 day before initiating these treatments and 2 weeks thereafter. A comparison of the pre- and post-treatments revealed that off-bottom swimming was less in the bottom feeding treatment and net chasing treatments. A comparison of off-bottom swimming in the bottom feeding treatment between the pre- and post treatments revealed that bottom fed fish showed less off-bottom swimming than surface fed fish. These findings suggest that fish behavior can be manipulated during the rearing period and that such manipulations can be used to improve the behavior of fish for release.