Aquaculture involves the raising and harvesting of various species of fish and oysters. This practice is relatively new for salmons but it has been practiced by other civilizations over the past thousands of years with other species of fish. With the increasing demand of aquatic foods year round, the aquaculture industry world wide will likely grow in the near future. Despite the good intentions of aquaculture, they do face a number of issues ranging from pollution problems to farming practices. Much of the focus will be on how salmon aquaculture is done, the issues the industry faces and possible solutions to those issues.
Out of all of the fish raised in aquaculture, salmon aquaculture has been one of the most successful industries in the world. The ideas of modern salmon aquaculture began in Norway in the 1960's with the use of floating sea cages. In 1974, the first private salmon farm started in Oregon. By 1979, major countries that have the biggest salmon farming industries are Norway, the United States, Canada, Chile, Japan and Scotland.
By the late 1980's advancements in hatchery programs in both the United States and Japan increased production. By 1986, production of farmed salmon out numbered wild caught Chinook and Coho salmon worldwide. By 1996, the production of farmed salmon out numbered all wild caught salmon species world wide. In 2004, world wide production of farmed salmon has exceeded wild harvest by over one million metric tons. Despite the salmon farms growing in areas like Norway and Chile, Salmon farming in the United States and Canada have slowed for a number of reasons in the late 1990's into the 2000's. (Anderson, el al. 2007)
[...] "Fugitive Salmon: Assessing the Risks of Escaped Fish from Net-Pen Aquaculture." Bioscience 55.5 (2005): 427-437. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web Apr. 2010. [...]
[...] Veterinary care is vital to halting the spread of diseases. (Naylor et al. 2005) However, these measures do pose a risk in terms of endocrine pollution in waterways which ultimately has an impact on marine wildlife and humans who consume marine animals. In addition, banning non native species for aquaculture will also curve the spread of new diseases and parasites. For example, all Atlantic salmon raised in farms must be of North American origin and the use of transgenic salmon is prohibited in Maine and Washington. [...]
[...] Zooplankton in turn store algae and phytoplankton. These organisms synthesize carotenoid pigments which causes the natural pink color in wild salmon flesh. In order to compensate, carotenoid and astaxanthin additives are put into salmon feed. Research is currently underway to find an alternative form of pigments from microalgae and yeast to be put in salmon feed. (Anderson et al Fairgrieve 2006) There was a recent, yet controversial study published in Science Journal of farmed salmon containing higher levels of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) than the wild salmon. [...]
[...] One way to recapture the farmed salmon is to have sports fishermen keep the captured farmed salmon while releasing wild ones. However, recapture approaches involve some risk of depleting wild stocks. In North America and Norway, scientists are figuring out ways to mark the farmed fish so they can be traced to farms either through genetic markers and thermal signatures. Markers will allow the government to hold the industry accountable for escaped fish. (Naylor et al. 2005) To cut down on the risks of pollution and ecological damages, it is best to farm salmon (along with other fish) in close containment facilities. [...]
[...] If they mate with a wild salmon, their offspring will become a hybrid of the two. Experiments have been done to confirm that bold wild and farmed fish can reproduce together successfully. In the long term, this can be a concern due to lack of genetic diversity. So if the hybrids are successful in reproducing, in the near future, the future generations of salmon will all share the same genes as the farmed salmon. If this occurs over several decades, the risk of eliminating genetic diversity will be greater. [...]
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