Polar Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 457–475 | Cite as

The complete history of salmonid introductions in the Kerguelen Islands, Southern Ocean

  • Frédéric LecomteEmail author
  • Edward Beall
  • Joëlle Chat
  • Patrick Davaine
  • Philippe Gaudin


Since the early 1950s, several species of salmonids have been introduced more or less successfully in the Kerguelen Islands, a 7,215 km² archipelago located in the Southern Ocean (49°S, 70°E) and previously devoid of any freshwater fish. The aim of this work was to establish a documented chronicle of these events from available archives, to better understand the causes of the colonization failure or success for the different species. The history that emerged from the analysis of the archives appeared much more complex than previously published. Stocks of various origins were used, and numerous attempts were made at different sites involving variable numbers of fish released at different life stages. Between 1951 and 1991, 22 importation attempts took place, involving about 2 million individuals. Of the 8 species introduced (Salmo trutta, S. salar, Oncorhynchus mykiss, O. tshawytscha, O. kisutch, Salvelinus namaycush, S. fontinalis and S. alpinus), only 3 failed to establish local populations (O. mykiss, O. tshawytscha and S. namaycush). Overall, 23 watersheds were stocked. At present, 45 watersheds are colonized by one or several species. S. trutta, S. fontinalis, S. alpinus and O. kisutch were capable of migrating toward new habitats. The brown trout (S. trutta) was the only species to colonize a large number of watersheds (32 in about 10 generations). Its success can be explained by the diversity of origins, the number and importance of introduction and transfer attempts, the diversity of release sites and the peculiarities of its life cycle.


Introductions Colonization Salmo Oncorhynchus Salvelinus Kerguelen Islands 



We gratefully acknowledge the support (funding, logistics, travel) provided by the TAAF administration (Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises-Mission de Recherche) and by the Polar Institute (IPEV, Institut Polaire Paul-Emile Victor, formerly IFRTP, Institut Français de Recherche et de Technologie Polaire) over all these years and their staff in Paris, La Réunion and Brest, France. Frédéric Lecomte was supported by a post-doctoral fellowship from the EFPA Department of INRA. The fieldwork would not have been possible without the help and support of the logistics team (Alain Lamalle, Roland Pagni, Henri Pérau, Romuald Bellec, Yann Lemeur, Nina Marchand…). We are indebted to the numerous people who participated in the field sampling with the Hydrobiology team and to all the fishermen who provided data (scales, morphometrics) and other information on the fish captured. We thank Julian J. Dodson and Jacques Labonne for reviewing a first draft of the paper, and Matthias Vignon for producing the figure.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 102 kb)
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Supplementary material 5 (PDF 82 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frédéric Lecomte
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Edward Beall
    • 1
    • 4
  • Joëlle Chat
    • 1
    • 4
  • Patrick Davaine
    • 1
    • 4
  • Philippe Gaudin
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Institut National de la Recherche AgronomiqueUMR ECOBIOP, INRA/UPPA, Pôle d’HydrobiologieSaint Pée sur NivelleFrance
  2. 2.Direction de la Faune AquatiqueMinistère des Ressources Naturelles et de la FauneQuebec CityCanada
  3. 3.Université du Québec à ChicoutimiChicoutimiCanada
  4. 4.Univ Pau & Pays Adour, UMR ECOBIOP, INRA/UPPA, UFR Côte BasqueAngletFrance

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