Environmental enrichment reduces maladaptive risk-taking behavior in salmon reared for conservation

Publication year: 2011
Source: Biological Conservation, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 12 May 2011</br>
L.J., Roberts , J., Taylor , C., Garcia de Leaniz</br>
Hatcheries often produce bold fish that are maladapted to survive in the wild, as absence of predators and selection for fast growth tend to favour risk-taking behaviors. Not surprisingly, losses of hatchery fish through predation can be high immediately after release and this may account for the failure of many ex-situ fish conservation programmes. For supportive-breeding to be useful, it is essential that released fish are able to display natural behaviors. We compared the performance of juvenile Atlantic salmon reared in environmentally-enriched tanks receiving natural prey and subjected to simulated predator attacks with fish reared under standard hatchery conditions while...</br>
*Highlights:*? Hatcheries favour bold fish which are often maladapted to survive in the wild. ? We assessed the benefits of environmental enrichment in juvenile Atlantic salmon. ? Enriched fish were 2.1 times less willing to take risks than controls. ? Behavioural changes were apparent within two weeks of enrichment. ? Rearing fish in structurally complex environments can help ex-situ conservation.</br></br>

13th May 2011 06:03

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