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salmon: Conservation and Aquaculture

Because of such human activities as overfishing, development, dam building, logging, and farm irrigation, Pacific salmon populations have greatly declined, and many species are now listed as rare and endangered. The United States and Canada negotiated a conservation agreement in 1999 that includes setting catch limits based upon ongoing scientific assessments of salmon population levels. In addition, multiple-approach conservation efforts are under way in Washington and Oregon states to restore the salmon runs. For reasons less well understood, and despite international conservation measures, Atlantic salmon populations have also sharply declined.

The desirability of salmon as food fish has led to their being raised in aquaculture. The primary species that are farmed are Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, coho salmon, and chinook salmon. Nearly all the Atlantic salmon sold is produced by aquaculture. Norway, Chile, Canada, the British Isles, Russia, Australia (Tasmania), and the states of Washington and Maine are the main areas where salmon is farmed; in many of these areas the farmed fish, typically Atlantic salmon, is not native. Most of the wild salmon caught in the United States is initially raised in fish hatcheries and then released into the wild.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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