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Current status of natural spawning of chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta in rivers with or without hatchery stocking on the Japan Sea side of northern Honshu, Japan

Iida, Masaya, Yoshino, Kunimasa, Katayama, Satoshi
Fisheries science 2018 v.84 no.3 pp. 453-459
Oncorhynchus keta, hatcheries, reproduction, rivers, spawning, surveys, wild fish, Japan
Information on the status of natural spawning is needed on the Japan Sea side of northern Honshu, Japan for ecosystem-based sustainable management of chum salmon resources. We conducted on-site visual surveys in October–December of 2015 and 2016 that targeted spawning chum salmon redds in all rivers > 5 km long (total 94 rivers) in Akita, Yamagata, Niigata (including Sado Island), and Toyama prefectures. The ratio of rivers found to host natural reproduction to the total number of surveyed rivers was 93.6% (44/47) in stocked rivers and 74.5% (35/47) in non-stocked rivers. These results show that there is a wide occurrence of natural reproduction of chum salmon in these rivers, regardless of the history of hatchery stocking. The density of spawning redds (number of redds/1000 m²) as an indicator of chum salmon escapements did not differ (P = 0.54) between stocked rivers (mean 3.5, N = 49) and non-stocked rivers (mean 2.4, N = 36),when rivers where no redds were observed were excluded from the analysis. These results suggest that chum salmon escapements into non-stocked rivers may not be negligible. Conservation measures for wild fish are needed in stocked and non-stocked rivers to promote enhancement programs based on natural reproduction.