Changes in the condition, early growth, and trophic position of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in response to an experimental aquaculture operation Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We analyzed changes in the condition, early growth, and resource use of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) from a Boreal Shield lake in response to an experimental aquaculture operation. Annual small-scale commercial production of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) resulted in increased lake trout body condition during aquaculture operations, which was positively related to minnow catch per unit effort (CPUE). Incremental increases in growth led to larger lake trout following aquaculture. While the littoral energy assimilated by lake trout did not change linearly from 2002 to 2009, we observed a shift towards littoral energy use in the last year of aquaculture and for 2 years after the experiment, coincident with low densities of Mysis diluviana. Lake trout trophic position declined from 2002 to 2009, suggesting increased foraging on secondary versus tertiary consumers. Minnow and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) CPUE increased by 5.2- and 5.5-fold, respectively, and Mysis diluviana densities decreased by 93%. Changes observed in the experimental lake were much greater than those observed in a nearby reference lake. Our results suggest that moderate nutrient enrichment from aquaculture may benefit lake trout in oligotrophic Boreal Shield lakes.

authors

  • Kennedy, Patrick J
  • Blanchfield, Paul J
  • Kidd, Karen
  • Paterson, Michael J
  • Podemski, Cheryl L
  • Rennie, Michael D

publication date

  • August 2019