Arctic Charr swimming depth preferences and feeding behaviour in seawater cages

N-10-02-002

Description

Given the high growth rate of Arctic Charr (Salvelinus alpinus) at sea and the species' ability to withstand cold temperatures, Arctic Charr appear to be an ideal candidate for salt water culture in Atlantic Canada. Nonetheless, conflicting results have been obtained regarding seawater rearing of Arctic Charr with data suggesting that performance is highly strain dependent. Recent trials suggest that three strains (Nauyak, Labrador, and hybrids between Three Rivers and Nauyak) of Arctic charr have been successfully reared in seawater in the summer with satisfactory growth and survival. However, issues have been observed in feeding behaviour (surface and bottom feeders) as well as appropriate depth for feed distribution. This study will monitor fish movement in sea cages to determine potential differences in feeding patterns between strains as well as effect of different stocking densities. Moreover, there is a need to understand environmental conditions in cages and how these parameters may influence fish swimming patterns. This will be achieved by deploying sondes in the cages and monitoring fish movement using hydroacoustics techniques. Ensuring feed is given at the appropriate depth to avoid stressing fish by unnecessary exposure to high surface temperatures is also one of the goals of gathering information on fish distribution in cages.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)

Year(s)

2010 - 2011

Ecoregion(s)

Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Dounia Hamoutene
Email: Dounia.Hamoutene@dfo-mpo.gc.ca