The effects of liming on juvenile stocks of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in a Norwegian river
Larsen, BM.; Hesthagen, T.
Water Air and Soil Pollution 85(2): 991-996 (Special issue)
ISSN/ISBN: 0049-6979 DOI: 10.1007/bf00476959
The effects of liming on juvenile stocks of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the river Vikedalselva in southwestern Norway were assessed. From 1987 to 1989, the river was limed only during the spring snow melt, and pH varied in the range between 5.5 and 7.0. In 1990 to 1993, the river was limed to pH 6.2 from 15 February to 1 June and to pH 5.7 during the rest of the year. Since 1994, the pH during late winter and spring was maintained above 6.5. Prior to liming fish kills were evident during spring snow melt but these have not occurred since liming. Electrofishing in the autumn between 1981 and 1994 showed no significant change in densities of juvenile salmon and brown trout after liming, mean densities ranged between 19-50 and 9-32 individuals 100 m-2 respectively. A significant linear correlation between production and biomass of both species was found, indicating that factors directly controlling density affect juvenile production and cause production to remain below carrying capacity. In spite of a clear increase in pH and a reduction in the concentration of labile aluminium after liming, the conditions still do not seem to be optimal for juvenile salmonids. We suggest that a complexity of different factors impose limitations on fish production in the river: inadequate egg deposition, environmental factors such as water temperature and flow, osmoregulatory failure in mixing zones between limed and acidic water and gill damage through deposition of aluminium and iron. However, there are several indications of a reduction in toxic effects after the pH was raised to 6.5 during spring snow melt.