In stocking program, the use of artificial incubation conditions in hatcheries from the fertilisation of eggs to the release of unfed fry could reduce their ability to adapt to the natural environment. This study evaluates the effects of three factors on the fitness and physiology of salmon fry at their emergence, the origin of water (river vs drilling), the type of support in the incubator (support matrix vs plastic sheets) and the type of incubators (Californian vs vertical trays), and compares them to a semi-natural incubation method in river. Key biological functions including nutritional and immune status were compared among experimental conditions using biometric parameters, lipid composition and gene expression analyses. Our findings demonstrated that fry incubated in vertical trays supplied with river water had no significant difference in growth and lipid composition compared to those in semi-natural incubators. Besides, fry incubated on a substrate matrix in Californian trays exhibited phenotypic characteristics closest to those incubated in river. This support matrix improved fish growth, lipid consumption and distribution compared to fry on plastic sheets. Moreover, the large amounts of several PUFAs in these fry could allow a better membrane fluidity ensuring a better adaptation to temperature variation under cold conditions. In addition, drilling water improved the survival rate compared to river water due to lower numbers of fine particles, known to be responsible for the clogging of eggs. To conclude, using a substrate combined with drilling water in artificial incubators could increase fry fitness and its adaption to wild life.
- Egg incubation
- Rearing conditions in hatchery
- Salmo salar