Limnetica 37

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GROWTH AND AGE STRUCTURE IN CAPTIVE AND WILD STOCKS OF THE ENDANGERED WESTERN RUIVACO Achondrostoma occidentale (CYPRINIDAE)

D. Mameri, C. Sousa-Santos, J. I. Robalo and M.F. Magalhães
2018
37
1
105-115
DOI: 
10.23818/limn.37.09

Declines in freshwater fish populations are occurring at a fast rate, increasing the importance of ex-situ conservation programs supported by sound knowledge of population dynamics and life-history traits of the target species. We analysed the growth and age structure of wild and captive stocks of the western ruivaco Achondrostoma occidentale, a Portuguese endangered cyprinid, targeted for captive breeding and restocking since 2007. Specifically, we compared maximum size, longevity, and length-at-age among captive and wild populations, restocked and non-restocked. We found considerable variation in length-at-age and longevity between captive-bred and wild fish, with the former generally growing faster and living longer. Analysis of length-age distributions among wild populations suggested a positive effect of restocking actions in fish abundance. Results highlight the value of captive breeding for the conservation of endangered cyprinids, and reinforce the need for detailed data on life-history trait variation between captive and wild stocks to assess the efficiency of ex-situ conservation programs.

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