Marine Science Faculty Publications

Movements of Spawning Rainbow Smelt, Osmerus Mordax, in a Massachusetts Estuary

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Flood Tide, Spawning Season, Marked Fish, Tidal Transport, Arctic Grayling

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Movements of spawning rainbow smelt, Osmerus mordax, were followed in the Parker River estuary, Massachusetts during 1974 and 1975. Fish marked with vinyl subcutaneous tags (n=1,492) or fin clips (n=577) were recaptured on three separate spawning sites in three different tributaries; the distribution patterns of marked fish indicated a homogeneous spawning stock. Interstream movement may have been facilitated by tidal transport since smelt ascended to the spawning sites on flood tides and moved downstream as tides ebbed. Rates of recapture of fish tagged on the spawning areas were 2.61 and 5.61 times greater for males than females in 1974 and 1975 respectively. Individual tagged males were recovered up to four times during the spawning period; females were recaptured a maximum of once. The proportion of age II and older females sampled from the angling fishery prior to spawning in 1975 (47.38%) was greater than the cumulative proportion sampled on the spawning sites (11.93%) due to longer spawning period of individual males.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Estuaries, v. 3, p. 308-314