Birzaks J.

Climate Change Impact on Salmon (Salmo salar) and Sea Trout (Salmo trutta) in the Salaca River, Latvia 

Abstract Hydrometeorological conditions are important determinants of the distribution, abundance and growth of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sea trout (Salmo trutta) parr and smolt in rivers. Long-term monitoring of the temperate zone Salaca River was conducted to investigate long-term changes in water temperature and streamflow and their effects on juvenile Atlantic salmon and sea trout. The average water temperature in the Salaca River was found to increase over time, particularly in autumn, winter and spring. River discharge increased in winter and summer, which was caused by increased precipitation. Goals of our study were: 1) to examine trends in water temperature and discharge in the river, 2) to explore relations between hydrometeorological trends, on the one hand, and abundance, size at age of salmon and sea trout parr and smolt, as well as changes in smolt migration patterns, on the other. This was the first occasion that a study of this type had been carried out in the Baltic Sea basin. In summer, growth of salmon parr in all age groups in the Salaca River was reduced. However, the size of smolt was found to increase. Migration of sea trout smolt in the Salaca River took place earlier, and the end of both salmon and sea trout migration was also observed earlier. The age structure of salmon smolt changed, with the one-year- old age group dominating. Judging from the total numbers of salmon and sea trout smolt in the River Salaca, production of smolt in the river during the monitoring period increased.


Keywords hydrometeorological trends; migration; smolt; par; temperature; streamflow

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