Wild Pacific Salmon Populations

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Human Intervention on Salmon Populations 1 The Effects of Human Intervention on Wild Pacific Salmon Populations Human Intervention on Salmon Populations Abstract Wild Pacific salmon have been studied extensively over the past thirty years, and much has been done to increase or at least maintain populations of varying species. Of these various sustainability tactics, many have proven to be responsible for declining populations. It becomes apparent that policy makers, lawmakers, and industry leaders have either not taken these results from scientific studies seriously or have other priorities. If human intervention on wild Pacific salmon populations does not change soon, this resource may be lost forever. 2 Human Intervention…show more content…
Based on this statistical data, consumers should have an interest in protecting this resource if for no other reason than to ensure continued availability in supermarket coolers. Humans are intervening with salmon populations in several ways, but we need to ask what the impacts of these interventions are with particular attention given to wild Pacific salmon populations. I argue that human interference, although usually well intentioned, is contributing to declining wild salmon populations. Examples of direct interventions include hatcheries, barging and trucking, and environmental laws. Additionally, there are indirect (unintentional) human actions such as economic pressures and aquaculture. I would also argue that the current state of the global economy is encouraging perpetuation of “aquaculture” due to generally lower prices for farm-raised salmon compared to wild-caught salmon. This being said, some may argue that efforts to increase wild salmon populations through human intervention (i.e. barging and hatcheries), or using aquaculture as a means to “grow” and harvest captive salmon in order to reduce fishing of wild salmon, is beneficial to populations. However, these arguments do not have scientific support. It is common…show more content…
According to Frazer (2008), a majority of salmon aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest consists of non-native Atlantic salmon. This is an issue according to Simberloff (2009), because after changes to habitat, research indicates that, “… the second greatest cause of species endangerment and extinction [is introduced species] …” (p. 2). There are several factors associated with invasive species, not the least of which is the spread of disease. Bakke & Harris (1998, as cited in Frazer, 2008) mentioned that hundreds of infections that are rare in wild Atlantic salmon populations are prevalent in farm raised Atlantic salmon. Escaped farmed salmon are then capable of spreading these infections to wild Pacific salmon populations. Of course, the big question is, “What can we do about these problems?” The best approach according to Frazer & Lewis (2008; as cited in SeaWeb, 2007), would include “… locating sea cages very far from wild fish” (Abstract), or using a “closed containment” (p. 2) system in order to isolate farmed fish from wild fish. Unfortunately, both options are more expensive than popular methods of aquaculture. Short-term gains from aquaculture and other human interventions appear to outweigh short-term losses, so industry has little incentive to follow more sustainable practices. If these practices continue, then long-term losses may result in the extinction of multiple Pacific salmon species

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