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One Species With Two Biologies: Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar

By Mart R. Gross


Abstract: Today, over 94 % of all adult Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) are in the aquaculture niche and wild numbers continue to decline while aquaculture numbers increase. The developmental and evolutionary forces in the aquaculture or “domestic ” niche are so unlike those in the wild niche that two distinct biologies are being created from the original Atlantic salmon species. We may now need to recognize a new biological entity — Salmo domesticus — and treat it as an “exotic ” when it escapes into the wild. Escapement therefore raises important concerns about ecological and genetic impacts, both within and outside the native range of Salmo salar. This paper explains why escaped domestic Atlantic salmon have had an impact on wild Atlantic salmon populations and now threaten Pacific salmonids as well. A polarization of views between aquaculturists and environmentalists will not resolve the problems. The three interest groups in fisheries — aquaculture, biodiversity, and capture — must begin to work together if we are to take up the challenge of preserving biodiversity and if aquaculturists, who hold the future of Atlantic salmon in their hands, can be expected to willingly prevent further impacts from their industry. Résumé: Aujourd’hui, 94 % des saumons de l’Atlantique (Salmo salar) adultes sont issus de l’aquaculture, et les effectifs de saumons sauvages continuent de décroître tandis que les effectifs provenant de l’aquaculture augmentent. Les forces agissant sur le développement et l’évolution des saumons d’aquaculture, ou des saumons « domestiques »

Year: 1998
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