Age and fine-scale marine growth of Atlantic salmon post-smolts in the Northeast Atlantic

Arne J. Jensen, Niall Ó. Maoiléidigh, Katie Thomas, Sigurdur M. Einarsson, Monika Haugland, Jaakko Erkinaro, Peder Fiske, Kevin D. Friedland, Asta K. Gudmundsdottir, Jari Haantie, Marianne Holm, Jens Christian Holst, Jan Arge Jacobsen, Jan G. Jensås, Jorma Kuusela, Webjørn Melle, Kjell Arne Mork, Vidar Wennevik, Gunnel M. ØStborg

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Surface trawls were conducted over a large area of the Northeast Atlantic in 2002, 2003, 2008, and 2009 to collect samples of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) post-smolts during their marine feeding migration (n = 2242). The dominant smolt age of wild post-smolts was 2 years, followed by 1- and 3-year-old fish, and a few 4-year-old fish. The average rate of circulus formation in the marine zone of scales was estimated to be 6.3 d circulus−1. Both the age structure and the number of marine circuli in the scales suggest that the majority of the post-smolts originated in rivers in southern Europe. Applying intercirculi distances in scales as a proxy variable of growth rate suggests that putative marine growth rates varied among years, with the fastest growth rates in 2002 and the slowest growth rates in 2008. Further, the first marine intercirculi distances were narrowest in 1-year-old smolts, successively increasing with smolt age, indicating that growth rates during the first period at sea were lowest for salmon of southernmost origin. Growth indices are linked to prevailing environmental and biological conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1668-1677
Number of pages10
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2012


  • Atlantic salmon
  • circuli spacings
  • digitale scale reading
  • image processing
  • intercirculi distances
  • mortality
  • survival


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