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Ecology and salmon related articles

Farm Salmon can Pollute Wild Runs

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, May 14, 2000

The Orvis Company has stopped selling farm-raised Atlantic smoked salmon. CEO Perk Perkins said the fly-fishing supply company wants to encourage the salmon aquaculture industry to be more environmentally responsible.

If farm salmon escape and interbreed with wild salmon, it could weaken the gene pool and/or spread disease.

Farmed Atlantic salmon have been found as far north as the Bering Sea.

British Columbia imposed a moratorium on salmon farming.

In Washington, escaped farmed salmon are categorized as pollutants by the Pollution Control Hearings Board, which set stringent controls.

There have been catastrophic escapes of Atlantic salmon in Puget Sound: 107,000 In 1996, 369,000 in 1997 and 115,000 last year.

Atlantic salmon appeared in some sport catches last year in the Green-Duwamish river system.

The State Fish and Wildlife Commission said it had not seen clear evidence of disease, interbreeding or competition for food and habitat but the potential exists.

More than 10 million pounds of Atlantic salmon, valued at $40 million, are produced each year in Washington. About 100 million pounds (80 percent are Atlantic salmon) are produced in British Columbia, and about 6 million farmed salmon are raised in floating pens in Maine.

There are farmed fish on the East Coast, just north of the Canadian border, that have infectious salmon anemia, which has spread to wild salmon.

State Fish and Wildlife's recommendations:

Mark Yuasa
Farm Salmon can Pollute Wild Runs
Seattle Times, May 14, 2000

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