Domestic Salmon’s DNA widely different from Wild Salmon

Domestic Salmon’s DNA widely different from Wild Salmon

The salmon fish grown in fish farms are believed to have more contamination and unhealthy fats than those growing in wild. Almost 70% of the salmon fish sold are grown in farms. This poses serious danger to the wild salmon as if it will come in the contact of contaminants releasing from farmed fish, the diseases could contribute in suppressing wild salmon species.

The problem is more concerning in British Columbia where many of the fish farms are located in the sea and are contained within the open nets, which makes the spread of the disease more feasible. The solution for reproducing more wild salmon can be achieved through salmon born in hatcheries.

Similar attempts are taken in Oregon and Washington to replenish wild salmon population for various purposes such as recreation and agriculture. However, many studies have found some fault in this practice of reproduction through farmed fishes. According to Oregon State University study in 2011, fish born in hatcheries face difficulty to reproduce in wild due to its domestic adaptation.

A latest study was conducted in this area by lead researcher Michael Blouin. Blouin and his team found differences in more than 700 genes of the hatchery-born salmon when they compared genes of steelhead trout, a type of salmon born in hatcheries to hatchery-born parents to those of wild-origin steelheads collected from Oregon’s Hood River. The result was published in the journal Nature Communications on February 17.

“Once we understand what traits of the fish are being favored in hatcheries, it may be possible to change the way hatchery fish are raised to reduce the selection pressures on them, then one could create hatchery fish that are more like wild fish, thus producing fish for harvest while reducing risk to wild populations”, said Blouin.

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