Otter ( Lutra lutra ) predation on stocked brown trout ( Salmo trutta ) in two Danish lowland rivers

Lene Jacobsen

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Abstract

This study aimed to evaluate otter predation on stocked trout. Large hatchery-reared trout (16-30 cm) were stocked into two Danish rivers with different fish populations. Otter diet before and after trout stocking was determined by analysing 685 spraints, collected regularly during the 35-day study period. Fish composition in the rivers before stocking was assessed by electrofishing. In River Trend, a typical trout river, the proportion of trout in the otter diet increased from 8% before stocking to 33% a few days after stocking. Moreover, trout lengths in the diet changed significantly towards the lengths of stocked trout, indicating that newly stocked trout were preferred to wild trout. In River Skals, dominated by cyprinids, there was no change in otter diet after stocking of hatchery trout, i.e., these were ignored by otter. Otter predation should be taken into account together with fish and bird predation, when stocking is used as a measure for conserving endangered salmonid populations.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Volume14
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)59-68
ISSN0906-6691
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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