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Comparison of freshwater and marine performances of all-female diploid and triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.)

Cotter, D., O'Donovan, V., Drumm, A., Roche, N., Ling, E.N., Wilkins, N.P.
Aquaculture research 2002 v.33 no.1 pp. 43-51
life cycle (organisms), Salmo salar, diploidy, triploidy, freshwater, seawater, developmental stages, mortality, body weight, yields, females
The performance of all-female diploid (AF2N) and triploid (AF3N) Atlantic salmon were compared in fresh water, under commercial production conditions in 1995 and 1996 year classes. The performance of the 1996 year class was also assessed for 14 months in a commercial sea farm. Freshwater mortality was higher in the triploid groups. The majority of losses occurred in the early stages of egg development and during the first feeding period, when the incidence of non-feeding fry was consistently higher. In growth studies, although diploid fry were significantly heavier during first feeding there were no significant differences in weight between groups some 8 months after fertilization or in presmolt growth periods from February to April in 1996 and 1997. Smolting rates were high (range 93.5-95.3%) and the incidence of deformities was low (< 1%) in both groups. Marine survival was lower in the triploid group, largely as a consequence of higher losses sustained during a period of chronic stress, when triploid losses were 9% higher. Growth patterns were similar for the first 11 months in sea water. Although graded triploid salmon were heavier in January 1998 (AF3N 1.62 +/- 0.033 kg, AF2N 1.46 +/- 0.36 kg, P < 0.05), when the fish were harvested in May 1998 diploid salmon were significantly heavier than triploid salmon although there was no significant difference in weights after evisceration (AF3N 2.40 kg +/- 0.04 AF2N 2.49 kg +/- 0.03). The increase in weight of the diploids between winter and harvest reflects the growth spurt that occurs in maturing fish in the spring. Overall yields of triploid salmon in salt water were lower as a result of inferior survival.