Understanding the homing behavior of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar is vital to the restoration program employed on the Penobscot River, Maine. To produce significant adult returns, managers currently stock hatchery-raised smolts in specific river sections, providing smolts the opportunity to imprint on chemical signals and enabling their return to productive spawning and rearing habitat as adults. In this study, we used observational evidence from passive integrated transponder telemetry to determine whether adults returning from smolt stockings behaved in a way that suggested strong homing to smolt stocking locations. Adults returning from smolt stocking locations located in or at the mouth of the Piscataquis River were more likely to be detected as entering the Piscataquis River than were adults returning from the upper Penobscot River smolt stocking locations. In general, returning adult Atlantic salmon that had been stocked near or in tributaries as smolts chose a path more quickly than those that had been stocked in more downstream or main-stem locations. These results suggest that Atlantic salmon smolts should be stocked at specific sites with superior habitat for spawning kind juvenile survival to capitalize on the strong homing tendency in adults. This technique call also be utilized to allow for natural selection and the development of localized stocks.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_mccleave/8/