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The effects of salinity and photoperiod on aerobic scope, hypoxia tolerance and swimming performance of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) reared in recirculating aquaculture systems

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A 2019; Volume 231. p. 82–90. 2019

Fang, Yuanchang; Chan, Victor K.S.; Hines, Chandler W.; Stiller, Kevin Torben; Richards, Jeffrey G.; Brauner, Colin J.

Land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) have been used to rear salmon from smolt to market-sized adults, but high operating costs have limited their wide spread adoption. One clear advantage of using RAS for salmon aquaculture over open net pens is that fish can be reared under optimal conditions in an attempt to maximize growth and physiological performance and reduce overall production costs. However, few studies have attempted to define the optimal conditions for the long-term rearing of salmon. Thus, the goal of this study is to determine the effects of salinity and photoperiod, two factors that can be easily manipulated in RAS, on the physiological performance of coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) during long-term rearing. To address this goal, post-smolt coho salmon were reared for 150 days in replicate RAS at 2.5, 5, 10 and 30 ppt under either 12:12 and 24:0 (light:dark) photoperiods. Routine metabolic rate, maximum metabolic rate, aerobic scope and hypoxia tolerance were measured at 60 and 120 days of rearing, while swimming performance was assessed at 60 and 150 days of rearing. There were no effects of salinity or photoperiod on metabolic rate measurements, hypoxia tolerance or swimming performance at any sampling time. There were, however, significant effects of salinity and photoperiod on post-swimming hematology. The results suggest that physiological disturbances continue to manifest due to different environmental conditions, despite acclimation, but do not hinder the animal’s ability to cope with physiological stressors. Overall, rearing salinity and photoperiod had very few measurable effects on the physiology and performance of coho salmon except the onoregulatory disturbances following swimming at salinities of 2.5 and 30 ppt.

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