Effects of aquaculture on wild fish populations: a synthesis of data


Effects of aquaculture on wild fish populations: a synthesis of data

Weir, Laura K. and Grant, James W.A. (2005) Effects of aquaculture on wild fish populations: a synthesis of data. Environmental Reviews, 13 (4). pp. 145-168. ISSN 1181-8700

PDF - Published Version

Official URL:


The potential adverse environmental effects of aquaculture have been the subject of considerable attention in both the media and the scientific literature. We undertook a synthesis of the published scientific literature, primarily concerning Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), to assess the current data available regarding these potential effects. No data are available to test for the direct effects of aquaculture organisms on the demographics of wild fish populations. However, seven studies show that escaped salmon in the wild have lower fitness, as measured by survival and reproductive success, than native salmon. Thirteen other studies, encompassing 91 different traits, provide strong evidence of phenotypic differences between farmed and wild salmon, presumably because of artificial selection in the aquaculture environment. An additional 10 studies have documented significant genetic differences between farmed salmon and the wild fish with which they will interact, or potentially interact. Given the paucity of data regarding actual population consequences of escaped farmed fish on wild populations, and the documented differences between the two types of fish, it seems prudent to treat farmed fish as exotic species with potentially negative consequences for wild populations, particularly when the latter are of conservation concern.Key words: aquaculture, Atlantic salmon, artificial selection, fitness, introgression.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Authors:Weir, Laura K. and Grant, James W.A.
Journal or Publication:Environmental Reviews
ID Code:7541
Deposited On:10 May 2011 16:18
Last Modified:10 May 2011 16:18
Alarcón, J.A., Magoulas, A., Georgakopoulos, T., Zouros, E., and Alvarez, M.C. 2004. Genetic comparisons of wild and cultivated sea bream (Sparus aurata). Aquaculture, 230: 65–80.

Anderson, J.M. 1987. Effects of aquaculture on salmon management. In Proceedings of the Symposium on Present and Future Atlantic Salmon Management, Portland, Maine, 27–29 October 1987. Edited by R.H. Stroud. Atlantic Salmon Federation and National Coalition for Marine Conservation, Savannah, Ga.

Bakke, T.A., and Harris, P.D. 1998. Diseases and parasites in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 247–266.

Begon, M., Harper, J.L., and Townsend, C.R. 1996. Ecology. 3rd ed. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Brooks, K.M., Stierns, A.R., Mahnken, C.V.W., and Blackburn, D.B. 2003. Chemical and biological remediation of the benthos near Atlantic salmon farms. Aquaculture, 219: 355–377.

Brown, J.R., Gowen, R.J., and McLusky, D.S. 1987. The effect of salmon farming on the benthos of a Scottish sea loch. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 109: 39–51.

Butler, J.R.A., Cunningham, P.D., and Starr, K. 2005. The prevalence of escaped farmed salmon, Salmo salar, in the River Ewe, western Scotland, with notes on their ages, weights and spawning distribution. Fish. Manag. Ecol. 12: 149–159.

Caldow, R.W.G., Beadman, H.A., McGrorty, S., Kaiser, M.J., Goss-Custard, J.D., Mould, K., and Wilson, A. 2003. Effects of intertidal mussel cultivation on bird assemblages. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 259: 173–183.

Carr, J.W., Anderson, J.M., Whoriskey, F.G., and Dilworth, T. 1997. The occurrence and spawning of cultured Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in a Canadian river. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1064–1073.

Clifford, S.L., McGinnity, P., and Ferguson, A. 1998. Genetic changes in an Atlantic salmon population resulting from escaped juvenile farm salmon. J. Fish Biol. 52: 118–127.

Colorni, A., Diamant, A., Eldar, A., Kvitt, H., and Zlotkin, A. 2002. Streptococcus iniae infections in Red Sea cage-cultured and wild fishes. Dis. Aquat. Org. 49: 165–170.

Crozier, W.W. 1993. Evidence of genetic interaction between escaped farmed salmon and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in a Northern Irish river. Aquaculture, 113: 19–29.

Crozier, W.W. 1998. Incidence of escaped farmed salmon, Salmo salar L., in commercial salmon catches and fresh water in Northern Ireland. Fish. Manag. Ecol. 5: 23–29.

Crozier, W.W. 2000. Escaped farmed salmon, Salmo salar L., in the Glenarm River, Northern Ireland: genetic status of the wild population 7 years on. Fish. Manag. Ecol. 7: 437–446.

Danielsdottir, A.K., Marteinsdottir, G., Arnason, F., and Gudjonsson, S. 1997. Genetic structure of wild and reared Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) populations in Iceland. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 986–997.

Dempster, T., Sanchez-Jerez, P., Bayle-Sempere, J.T., Giménez-Casalduero, F., and Valle, C. 2002. Attraction of wild fish to sea-cage fish farms in the south-western Mediterranean Sea: spatial and short-term temporal variability. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 242: 237–252.

Diamant, A., Banet, A., Ucko, M., Colorni, A., Knibb, W., and Kvitt, H. 2000. Mycobacteriosis in wild rabbitfish Siganus rivulatus associated with cage farming in the Gulf of Eliat, Red Sea. Dis. Aquat. Org.
39: 211–219.

Einum, S., and Fleming, I.A. 1997. Genetic divergence and interactions in the wild among native, farmed, and hybrid Atlantic salmon. J. Fish Biol. 50: 634–651.

Einum, S., and Fleming, I.A. 2000. Selection against late emergence and small offspring in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Evolution, 52: 628–639.

Einum, S., and Fleming, I.A. 2001. Implications of stocking: ecological interactions between wild and released salmonids. Nord. J. Freshw. Res. 75: 56–70.

Fleming, I.A. 1996. Reproductive strategies of Atlantic salmon: ecology and evolution. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 6: 379–416.

Fleming, I.A. 1998. Pattern and variability in the breeding system of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), with comparisons to other salmonids. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 59–76.

Fleming, I.A., and Einum, S. 1997. Experimental tests of genetic divergence of farmed from wild Atlantic salmon due to domestication. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1051–1063.

Fleming, I.A., and Petersson, E. 2001. The ability of released, hatchery salmonids to breed and contribute to the natural productivity of wild populations. Nord. J. Freshw. Res. 75: 71–98.

Fleming, I.A., Jonsson, B., Gross, M.R., and Lamberg, A. 1996. An experimental study of the reproductive behaviour and success of farmed and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). J. Appl. Ecol. 33: 893–905.

Fleming, I.A., Hindar, K., Mjølnerød, I.B., Jonsson, B., Balstad, T., and Lamberg, A. 2000. Lifetime success and interactions of farm salmon invading a native population. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 267: 1517–1523.

Fleming, I.A., Agustsson, T., Finstad, B., Johnsson, J.I., and Björnsson, B.Th. 2002. Effects of domestication on growth physiology and endocrinology of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 59: 1323–1330.

Folke, C., Kautsky, N., Berg, H., Jansson, A., and Troell, M. 1998. The ecological footprint concept for sustainable seafood production: a review. Ecol. Appl. 8: S63–S71.

Garant, D., Fleming, I.A., Einum, S., and Bernatchez, L. 2003. Alternative male life-history tactics as potential vehicles for speeding introgression of farm salmon traits into wild populations. Ecol. Lett. 6: 541–549.

Gausen, D., and Moen, V. 1991. Large-scale escapes of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) into Norwegian rivers threaten natural populations. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 426–428.

Gjedrem, T., Salte, R., and Gjøen, H.M. 1991. Genetic variation in susceptibility of Atlantic salmon to furunculosis. Aquaculture, 97: 1–6.

Gjerde, B. 1984. Response to individual selection for age at sexual maturity in Atlantic salmon. Aquaculture, 38: 229–240.

Grant, J.W.A. 1990. Aggressiveness and the foraging behaviour of young-of-the-year brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 47: 915–920.

Gross, M.R. 1998. One species with two biologies: Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the wild and in aquaculture. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 131–144.

Gudjonsson, S. 1991. Occurrence of reared salmon in natural salmon rivers in Iceland. Aquaculture, 98: 133–142.

Guo, L., and Li, Z. 2003. Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus from fish cage-culture on the communities of a shallow lake in middle Yangtze River basin of China. Aquaculture, 226: 201–212.

Handeland, S.O., Björnsson, B.Th., Arnesen, A.M., and Stefansson, S.O. 2003. Seawater adaptation and growth of post-smolt Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar) of wild and farmed strains. Aquaculture, 220: 367–384.

Hansen, L.P., and Jacobsen, J.A. 2003. Origin and migration of wild and escaped farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in oceanic areas north of the Faroe Islands. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 60: 110–119.

Hansen, L.P., Reddin, D.G., and Lund, R.A. 1997. The incidence of reared Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) of fish farm origin at West Greenland. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 152–155.

Hansen, L.P., Jacobsen, J.A., and Lund, R.A. 1999. The incidence of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., in the Faroese fishery and estimates of catches of wild salmon. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 56: 200–206.

Harwood, A.J., Griffiths, S.W., Metcalfe, N.B., and Armstrong, J.D. 2003. The relative influence of prior residency and dominance on the early feeding behaviour of juvenile Atlantic salmon. Anim. Behav. 65:

Håstein, T., and Lindstad, T. 1991. Diseases in wild and cultured salmon: possible interaction. Aquaculture, 98: 277–288.

Heggberget, T.G., Johnsen, B.O., Jonsson, B., Hansen, L.P., Hvidsten, N.A., and Jensen, A.J. 1993a. Interactions between wild and cultured Atlantic salmon: a review of the Norwegian experience. Fish. Res. 18: 123–146.

Heggberget, T.G., Økland, F., and Ugedal, O. 1993b. Distribution and migratory behaviour of adult wild and farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) during return migration. Aquaculture, 118: 73–83.

Henderson, A.R., and Ross, D.J. 1995. Use of macrobenthic infaunal communities in the monitoring and control of the impact of marine cage fish farming. Aquac. Res. 26: 659–678.

Hindar, K., Ryman, N., and Utter, F. 1991. Genetic effects of cultured fish on natural populations. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 48: 945–957.

Hites, R.A., Foran, J.A., Carpenter, D.O., Hamilton, M.C., Knuth, B.A., and Schwager, S.J. 2004. Global assessment of organic contaminants in farmed salmon. Science, 303: 226–229.

Hutchings, J.A. 1991. The threat of extinction to native populations experiencing spawning intrusions by cultured Atlantic salmon. Aquaculture, 98: 119–132.

Hutchings, J.A., and Jones, M.E.B. 1998. Life history variation and growth rate thresholds for maturity in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 22–47.

Jacobsen, J.A., and Gaard, E. 1997. Open-ocean infestation by salmon lice (Lepeophtherius salmonis): comparison of wild and escaped farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1113–1119.

Johnsen, B.O., and Jensen, A.J. 1991. The Gyrodactylus story in Norway. Aquaculture, 98: 289–302.

Johnsen, B.O., and Jensen, A.J. 1994. The spread of furunculosis in salmonids in Norwegian rivers. J. Fish Biol. 45: 47–55.

Johnsson, J.I., Höjesjö, J., and Fleming, I.A. 2001. Behavioural and heart rate responses to predation risk in wild and domesticated Atlantic salmon. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 58: 788–794.

Jonsson, B. 1997. A review of ecological and behavioural interactions between cultured and wild Atlantic salmon. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1031–1039.

Karakassis, I., Tsapakis, M., Hatziyanni, E., Papadopoulou, K.-N., and Plaiti, W. 2000. Impact of cage farming of fish on the seabed in three Mediterranean coastal areas. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 57: 1462–1471.

King, T.L., Kalinowski, S.T., Schill, W.B., Spidle, A.P., and Lubinski, B.A. 2001. Population structure of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.): a range-wide perspective from microsatellite DNA variation. Mol. Ecol. 10: 807–821.

Kraufvelin, P., Sinisalo, B., Leppakoski, E., Mattila, J., and Bonsdorff, E. 2001. Changes in zoobenthic community structure after pollution abatement from fish farms in the Archipelago Sea (N. Baltic Sea). Mar. Environ. Res. 51: 229–245.

Krko˘sek, M., Lewis, M.A., and Volpe, J.P. 2005. Transmission dynamics of parasitic sea lice from farm to wild salmon. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 272: 689–696.

La Rosa, T., Mirto, S., Marino, A., Alonzo, V., Maugeri, T.L., and Mazzola, A. 2001. Heterotrophic bacteria community and pollution indicators of mussel-farm impact in the Gulf of Gaeta (Tyrrhenian Sea). Mar. Environ. Res. 52: 301–321.

Lund, R.A., Økland, F., and Hansen, L.P. 1991. Farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in fisheries and rivers in Norway. Aquaculture, 98: 143–150.

Lura, H., and Sægrov, H. 1991. Documentation of successful spawning of escaped farmed female Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar, in Norwegain rivers. Aquaculture, 98: 151–159.

Lura, H., and Sægrov, H. 1993. Timing of spawning in cultured and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) in the River Vosso, Norway. Ecol. Freshw. Fish. 2: 167–172.

Lura, H., Barlaup, B.T., and Sægrov, H. 1993. Spawning behaviour of a farmed escaped female Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). J. Fish Biol. 42: 311–313.

Machias, A., Karakassis, I., Giannoulaki, M., Papadopoulou, K.N., Smith, C.J., and Somarakis, S. 2005. Response of demersal fish communities to the presence of fish farms. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 288: 241–450.

Malmberg, G. 1989. Salmonid transports: culturing and Gyrodactylus infections in Scandinavia. In Parasites of Freshwater Fishes of North-West Europe. International Symposium Soviet-Finnish Cooperation, September 1988. Edited by O. Bauer. Institute of Biology, USSR Academy of Science, Karelian Branch, Petrozavodsk, USSR. pp. 88–104.

Mather, M.E. 1998. The role of context-specific predation in understanding patterns exhibited by anadromous salmon. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 232–246.

Mather, M.E., Parrish, D.L., Folt, C.L., and DeGraaf, R.M. 1998. Integrating across scales: effectively applying science for the successful conservation of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 55(Suppl. 1): 1–8.

Mazzola, A., Mirto, S., and Danovaro, R. 1999. Initial fish-farm impact on meiofaunal assemblages in coastal sediments of the western Mediterranean. Mar. Pollut. Bull. 38: 1126–1133.

McConnell, S., O’Reilly, P., Hamilton, L., Wright, J.M., and Bentzen, P. 1995. Polymorphic microsatellite loci from Atlantic salmon ( Salmo salar): genetic differentiation of North American and European populations. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 52: 1863–1872.

McGinnity, P., Stone, C., Taggart, J.B., Cooke, D., Cotter, D., Hynes, R., McCamley, C., Cross, T., and Ferguson, A. 1997. Genetic impact of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) on native populations: use of DNA profiling to assess freshwater performance of wild, farmed, and hybrid progeny in a natural river environment. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 998–1008.

McGinnity, P., Prodöhl, P., Ferguson, A., Hynes, R., Maoilédigh, N.Ó., Baker, N., Cotter, D., O’Hea, B., Cooke, D., Rogan, G., Taggart, J., and Cross, T. 2003. Fitness reduction and potential extinction of wild populations of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar as a result of interactions with escaped farm salmon. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B, Biol. Sci. 270: 2443–2450.

McKinnell, S., and Thomson, A.J. 1997. Recent events concerning Atlantic salmon escapees in the Pacific. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1221–1225.

McKinnell, S., Black, E.A., Wing, B.L., Guthrie, C.M., III, Koerner, J.F., and Helle, J.H. 1997. Atlantic salmon in the North Pacific. Aquac. Res. 28: 145–157.

McVicar, A.H. 1997. Disease and parasite implications of the coexistence of wild and farmed cultured Atlantic salmon populations. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 54: 1093–1103.

Milner, N.J., and Evans, R. 2003. The incidence of escaped Irish farmed salmon in English and Welsh rivers. Fish. Manag. Ecol. 10: 403–406.

Mirto, S., La Rosa, T., Gambi, C., Danovaro, R., and Mazzola, A. 2002. Nematode community response to fish-farm impact in the western Mediterranean. Environ. Pollut. 116: 203–214.

Mjølnerød, I.B., Refseth, U.H., Karlsen, E., Balstad, T., Jakobsen, K.S., and Hindar, K. 1997. Genetic differences between two wild and one farmed population of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) revealed by three classes of genetic markers. Hereditas, 127: 239–248.

Molina Domínguez, L., López Calero, G., Vergara Martín, J.M., and Robaina Robaina, L. 2001. A comparative study of sediments under a marine cage farm at Gran Canaria Island (Spain). Preliminary results. Aquaculture, 192: 225–231.

Morton, A., Routledge, R., Peet, C., and Ladwig, A. 2004. Sea lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) infection rates on juvenile pink (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) and chum (Oncorhynchus keta) salmon in the nearshore marine environment of British Columbia, Canada. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 61: 147–157.

Naylor, R.L., Goldburg, R.J., Primavera, J.H., Kautsky, N., Beveridge, M.C.M., Clay, J., Folke, C., Lubchenco, J., Mooney, H., and Troell, M. 2000. Effect of aquaculture on world fish supplies. Nature (Lond.), 405: 1017–1024.

Naylor, R., Hindar, K., Fleming, I.A., Goldburg, R., Williams, S., Volpe, J., Whoriskey, F., Eagle, J., Kelso,
D., and Mangel, M. 2005. Fugitive salmon: assessing the risks of escaped fish from net-pen aquaculture. Bioscience, 55: 427–437.

Norris, A.T., Bradley, D.G., and Cunningham, E.P. 1999. Microsatellite genetic variation between and within farmed and wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations. Aquaculture, 180: 247–264.

Økland, F., Heggberget, T.G., and Jonsson, B. 1995. Migratory behaviour of wild and farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) during spawning. J. Fish Biol. 46: 1–7.

Pohle, G., Frost, B., and Findlay, R. 2001. Assessment of regional benthic impact of salmon mariculture within the Letang Inlet, Bay of Fundy. ICES J. Mar. Sci. 58: 417–426.

Poole, W.R., Webb, J.H., Matthews, M.A., and Youngson, A.F. 2000. Occurrence of canthaxanthin in Atl
All items in Spectrum are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved. The use of items is governed by Spectrum's terms of access.

Repository Staff Only: item control page

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...

Concordia University - Footer