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Scientists put autonomous artificial salmon egg incubators to the test in Kamchatka
21 november 2018
Students of Kamchatka State Technical University with support from WWF-Russian and specialists of FSFI «Glavrybvod» loaded autonomous incubator with chum salmon eggs. The incubators were set in a creek near the salmon breeding farm "Paratunsky" where the embryos will safely develop until alevins emerge.
The students set three incubators, one of which is the result of their own elaboration. The future scientists scrutinized chum salmon eggs before putting them into the incubators. Only those eggs with embryos inside were taken.
"The goal of this experiment is to put this technology itself to the test and see whether it suits for Kamchatka waters," says Dr. Alexander Bonk, the head of the “Marine resources, fisheries, and aquaculture” sub-department at KSTU. "The same kind of experiments were conducted by our colleagues in Sakhalin Island and in Karelia region and were quite successful. However, the rivers of Kamchatka differ from those in Sakhalin and Karelia. More than that, our students have developed another type of autonomous artificial incubators. We expect that the conditions inside the incubators will be close to those in redds (salmon female's nests)."
In two to three months scientists plan to announce the first results of this experiment. When the eggs hatch and alevins emerge, the scientists will open the incubators to check alevins' status and assess the level of their development. Only after that, the scientists will be able either to recommend or to discard this type of hatchery for Kamchatka.
"The salmon breeding farm "Paratunsky" can hatch as much as 17.5 million salmon species. This number is way higher than any artificial incubators can afford. However, we do not plan to substitute large breeding farms with the assessed technology. There are many small rivers and creeks in Kamchatka where the salmon population is either in serious decline or was lost completely. It is economically unprofitable to establish a breeding facility there. In such cases, the autonomous artificial incubators can be the only solution for those rivers," says Sergey Korostelev, the Marine Program Coordinator with WWF-Russia's Kamchatka Office.
The autonomous artificial incubators were set in the body of a small brook near the "Paratunsky" salmon breeding facility and will stay there until the end of winter.