Farmed Salmon Decimating Wild Salmon Worldwide

Wildlife News

James Owen
for National Geographic News

February 12, 2008

The growing global appetite for cheap farmed salmon is imperiling wild fish populations across the planet, scientists warn.

The first worldwide assessment of the impact of cultivated salmon on wild stocks found that where native populations encounter salmon farms, the numbers of wild fish crash, on average, by more than 50 percent.

The farmed fish spread diseases and parasites to wild salmon. Some cultivated escapees also interbreed with the native fish, reducing the ability of their offspring to survive, researchers say.

"The overall trend, over and over again around the world, is that salmon farming seems to have a negative impact on wild salmon," said lead researcher Jennifer Ford of Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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