Section 37
Chapter 36,702

The complete history of salmonid introductions in the Kerguelen Islands, Southern Ocean

Frédéric Lecomte, Edward Beall, Joëlle Chat, Patrick Davaine…

Polar Biology 36(4): 457-475


ISSN/ISBN: 0722-4060
DOI: 10.1007/s00300-012-1281-5
Accession: 036701906

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Since the early 1950s, several species of salmonids have been introduced more or less successfully in the Kerguelen Islands, a 7,215 km archipelago located in the Southern Ocean (49 S, 70 E) and previously devoid of any freshwater fish. The aim of this work was to establish a documented chronicle of these events from available archives, to better understand the causes of the colonization failure or success for the different species. The history that emerged from the analysis of the archives appeared much more complex than previously published. Stocks of various origins were used, and numerous attempts were made at different sites involving variable numbers of fish released at different life stages. Between 1951 and 1991, 22 importation attempts took place, involving about 2 million individuals. Of the 8 species introduced (Salmo trutta, S. salar, Oncorhynchus mykiss, O. tshawytscha, O. kisutch, Salvelinus namaycush, S. fontinalis and S. alpinus), only 3 failed to establish local populations (O. mykiss, O. tshawytscha and S. namaycush). Overall, 23 watersheds were stocked. At present, 45 watersheds are colonized by one or several species. S. trutta, S. fontinalis, S. alpinus and O. kisutch were capable of migrating toward new habitats. The brown trout (S. trutta) was the only species to colonize a large number of watersheds (32 in about 10 generations). Its success can be explained by the diversity of origins, the number and importance of introduction and transfer attempts, the diversity of release sites and the peculiarities of its life cycle.

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