PORTLAND, Ore. March 7, 2007. Ever since the Norwegians expanded
commercial farming of salmon in the 1960s, the industry has continued
to rapidly grow worldwide. It has expanded to such a degree that
prices for farmed salmon have plummeted and, there is concern that
farmed fish may become the next invasive species.
“ Farmed fish escaping from marine net pens might become
an invasive species in British Columbia, Washington or Alaska,” says
research fish biologist Peter Bisson. “Net pen culture of
salmon is big business worldwide, and both advocates and opponents
of salmon farming have been very vocal in stating their views.
I wanted to look at the hard evidence to determine the short- and
long-term risks to native species in streams on National Forests.”
a staff scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station/Forest
Service, began work on the report, Assessment of
the Risk of Invasion of National Forest Streams in the Pacific
Northwest by Farmed Atlantic Salmon, to assess the potential
impact of farmed salmon on native fishes inhabiting streams on
Forest System lands and to learn if concerns from both sides
of the farmed-versus-wild fish debate had validity, based on an
Here are some of the findings in the report:
At present, breeding populations of escaped farm salmon are not
known to exist on National Forest System lands, but the locations
of Atlantic salmon farms and the sightings of escaped salmon
indicate that streams on four national forests may be at risk:
the Tongass and Chugach NF in Alaska, and the Olympic and Mount
Baker-Snoqualmie NF in Washington.
Atlantic salmon could transmit
a serious disease or parasite to native fishes.
Escaped salmon may eventually adapt to local conditions, leading
to self-sustaining populations.
Escaped salmon could compete with already at-risk species, such
“ Given the precarious state of many of our native salmon
stocks,” explains Bisson, “it seems prudent to be safe
rather than sorry, and to be diligent in monitoring any reports
of Atlantic salmon in Pacific Northwest streams whether in national
forests or in state and private forests.”
Read the entire report at http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/pubs/pnw_gtr697.pdf