Salmo domesticus is the farmed salmon that is so prevalent in the chapter on salmon this week. It is a really important topic in fisheries to discuss, as both the economic and environmental implications of farming so many fish are going to define the next few generations of fisheries. Farming salmon started as a small operation in Norway that soon became a phenomenon in many countries, once feeding and cultivating was worked out. Various breeds were selected and crossbred for the best traits, and aquaculture took off.
Farmed salmon can be either a blessing or a curse, depending on how we handle it. On one hand, if we keep farmed salmon out of wild salmon streams and create sustainable environments for them, we could create our own food source and potentially not fish the wild salmon to extinction. Since humans as a species continue to grow exponentially, if we fish exclusively wild salmon at the current rate we are consuming salmon, the salmon will go extinct quickly. However, there is a large chance we won’t handle fish farming in the best way, and this could be incredibly detrimental if it gets out of hand. Farmed salmon could easily displace wild salmon in streams, which would undo all that we were striving for in the first place. In addition, there’s an ethical dilemma for some people about eating something we cultivated specifically for ourselves. When we eat farmed salmon, we are no longer eating a species that was wild, and we don’t always know enough about the genetic implications of eating something we invented. It is a dangerous game we are playing that could turn out to be the ruin of wild salmon.