FTT 9/22

Salmo Domesticus, or better yet, domestic salmon are salmon whose genetics have been carefully chosen to profit, grow and reproduce the fastest with the least work. They are much like your typical broiler chicken who grows too large to stand by month three of growth and is good for nothing but the dinner table. Using selective breeding, performance traits are bred into the domesticated species making it extremely dangerous just in itself to the wild populations. I remember reading a related study that proved after multiple generations of sitting in extremely crowded raceways, juvenile farmed salmon much out-competed wild salmon in that life stage due to learned aggression. (I will attach said study when I locate it!) These Norwegian bred farmed salmon now have stronger survival traits (such as aggression), increased disease resistance and increased growth rates, among other things. The possibility of these farmed fish interbreeding with wild fish and ruining genetic adaptiveness of wild fish is likely and is already in motion.  The fight for space and food is also a very worrisome possibility. Genetics can be altered immensely when these, basically invasive species, are introduced due to populations sizes being changed and genetic drift taking place.

So, to put it in perspective: Imagine farmed fish with the strong survival rates due to increased aggression and size at the juvenile stage being put in with wild fish who are smaller and lack the aggression. The fish who survive (farmed) have lower genetic diversity, reduced predator response, lower survival in wild after the juvenile stage, smaller eggs, less drive to spawn properly, a completely different body and fin shape and also have absolutely no stream knowledge. The farmed fish show up late to rivers and dig up the wild fish eggs, thus replacing wild offspring with their own. These farmed fish risk killing off our entire wild population in time and destroying the wild gene pool forever. Once these farmed fish in the wild hit maturity, they risk not even spawning or surviving. Could this mean a total loss of salmon? I think we can suspect that as an outcome far down the road.

One thought on “FTT 9/22”

  1. Hi Lauren!

    I don’t remember reading about juvenile farmed salmon being put in the wild on purpose in Greenberg’s book. I really hope no one is putting the genetically altered salmon in with the wild ones! I agree with what you are saying the consequences would be if that were to happen. It would lead to real damage to the wild salmon and the ecosystem. Great post!

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