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Duffins Creek Atlantic Salmon Juvenile Movements
Assessing differences between enriched and conventionally reared hatchery Atlantic salmon juveniles in movements, habitat use, and survival in Duffins Creek, Ontario
October 2019 - December 2020
Using the subject species Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's fish culture station in Norfolk County, ON, this project aims to assess the effects of enriched rearing on the post-stocking success of juvenile fall fingerlings. The Atlantics, destined for Lake Ontario, go through a 10-week training regime whereby their rearing protocol supplemented with exposure to live food sources, live predators, and in-tank substrate. The fish are stocked in Duffins Creek (Ajax, ON) and monitored via VEMCO acoustic telemetry and BIOMARK passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging technologies. In fall 2019, monitoring is focused primarily on stocking location and dispersal tracking; however, in the spring of 2020 when the fish are due to undergo smoltification and migrate to Lake Ontario, the monitoring equipment is focused near the mouth of the creek and just offshore. This project aims to explore possible mechanisms resulting in low observed Atlantic Salmon fall fingerling survival and to provide insight to fisheries management to aid ongoing restoration efforts.