The Effect of Genetic Introgression of Farm-Raised Fish on the Endangered Wild Atlantic Salmon Populations in Maine.
Abstract: This thesis reviews the state of the wild populations of Atlantic
salmon in Maine, and in particular their relationship to the farm-raised salmon that escape
and interbreed with the wild salmon. This thesis asks whether commercial salmon farms can
exist in a common time and place as wild Atlantic salmon, and if so, how? The research
revealed that conservation efforts have been so far ... read moreunsuccessful in restoring a sustainable
population of Atlantic salmon to the rivers of Maine and their diminished numbers put the
species at a great risk to even a small influx of escaped farm salmon. Farm escapees
interbreed with wild salmon, pass on their artificially selected genes, and leave
subsequent generations less fit for survival in the wild. Though commercial aquaculture is
not wholly responsible for the current fragile state of salmon in Maine, the industry can
take a leadership role in aiding the wild salmon's recovery. Recommendations include
converting Maine's fish farms to closed- system, land-based operations, and thorough salmon
habitat restoration focused on dam removal and watershed conservation.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisors: Rusty Russell, and Ann Rappaport.
Keywords: Fisheries and aquatic sciences, Wildlife conservation, and Environmental management.read less