White sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) in the Lower Fraser River are the focus of a catch-and-release angling fishery in British Columbia, Canada. However, the lower region of the catch area includes areas where tidal waters invade, and the consequence of salinity levels on recovery from an angling challenge are not characterized in sturgeon, despite theoretical implications of its import. We acclimated white sturgeon to various salinities (0, 10 and 20 (parts per thousand)) to investigate the effects of acclimation on recovery from stimulated angling stress that was induced through manual chasing. This challenge elicited the traditional physiological responses such as ion homeostasis disturbance, increases in secondary stress indicators and metabolic acidosis; however, environmental salinity altered the timing of recovery in some of the parameters measured. In addition, the severity of the intracellular pH disturbance in both heart and red blood cell seemed to be mediated in fresh water, yet the recovery pattern of plasma chloride and bicarbonate ions seemed to be facilitated by higher salinity. In general, responses were similar but not identical, leading us to conclude that the role of salinity on recovery from exercise is complex but not insignificant. Salinity may be important to behaviours exhibited by white sturgeon (such as migrations) in their respective saline environments, but less so around the impact of an angling stressor. Further exploration of this response may provide insight on whether the current tidal boundaries for angling white sturgeon are appropriate.


Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/)


Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology

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Shartau RB, Shu J, Baker DW (2023) The role of salinity in recovery of white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) from stimulated angling stress. Conserv Physiol 11(1): coad009; doi:10.1093/conphys/coad009.

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