Ecological and Health Impacts of Intensive Salmon Aquaculture

 

Ecological and Health Impacts of Intensive Salmon Aquaculture

Introduction

            Because of aquaculture activities, the oceans in the world are going through some level of pressure. This is contrary to the expectation with regards to the intended impact that aquaculture activities should have on the oceans. There is a great impact of farmers to the surrounding environment. For instance, the aquaculture activities have resulted to the alteration of the habitat, wild fish population damage, enrichment of nutrients (Gross, 1998). In intensive Salmon aquaculture, wild fish as been used as fish meal since salmons are carnivorous fish. Because of this, increased or intensive production of salmon through aquaculture is proportionate to depletion of the wild fish population, thus resulting to great ecological and health impacts. According to the report by FAO (2008), it was established that a total of 60% in 2003 were produced through aquaculture (Intensive salmon aquaculture). There is also an increment in the number of countries where farming of salmon takes place; examples of these countries include Canada, Chile, Scotland, and Norway. These countries produce 71% of salmon globally (FAO, 2008). In intensive salmon aquaculture, there two species of salmon that are formed widely; these are Salmo salar commonly referred to us Atlantic salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, and Oncorhynchus kisutch (FAO, 2008).

Because of its high economic value, Atlantic salmon production is 89% of the global salmon production (FAO, 2008). This intensive salmon production has a heavy ecological and health cost attached to it. According to FAO technical report (2008), aquaculture has a number of risks to the society. Some of these risks include pollution from drugs, feeds, and chemical wastes. It has also been associated to change of water flow patterns and current, introduction of pathogens and invasive alien species, and also impact on the native stocks (genetic). These impacts are very enormous mainly because of the intensity with which the farming is done.

Problem Statement

This research paper will focus of the impact of intensive salmon aquaculture on the wild Atlantic salmon stock. The country of focus will be Chile. This is mainly because it is one the leading countries in the farming of salmon. Wild Atlantic salmon is picked on because of its economic of value and reports that links its decline with the intensive salmon aquaculture. Aspects of the ecological and health impacts will be assessed. Some of the aspects of health that will be locked at are the spread of pathogens associated with viral diseases which are highly contagious such as ISA which according to Buschmann et al (2009) can affect wild species such as salmon parr. The impact of chemical waste, biological and nutrient loading on ecology as a result of intensive salmon aquaculture will also be studied.

Rationale for the Research  

            This study will look into detail the association between intensive salmon aquaculture and the decline in the population of wild Atlantic salmon. Some of the factors that will be the focus of the study are ecological and health impact of intensive salmon aquaculture on the Atlantic salmon. This study was picked on basically because of the recent indications of the decline in the population of wild Atlantic salmon as revealed in the study conducted by Butler and Watt (2003). Ford and Myers (2008) also reported negative impact salmon aquaculture on salmonid populations in study involving Scotland, Canada and Ireland. This study is very vital since its outcome would be used as a basis for the study of the ecological and health impact of intensive aquaculture on the wild species. The recommendation from this study would be vital in coming up with a method to regulate aquaculture with an aim of mitigating the health and ecological impacts.  This study would also be an important tool in the field of aquaculture since it will in providing the possible best practices that can be used to eliminate the threats that intensive salmon aquaculture has on wild Atlantic salmon thus making intensive salmon aquaculture sustainable.

Research Objectives

            The objectives of this study are:

  1. To study the behavior of wild Atlantic salmon population in areas where intensive salmon aquaculture is done.
  2. To study the behavior of wild Atlantic salmon population in areas where salmon aquaculture is moderate.
  3. To study the behavior of wild Atlantic salmon population in areas that does not have any form of aquaculture.
  4. To evaluate the ecological impacts of intensive salmon aquaculture on Atlantic salmon.
  5. To evaluate the health impact of intensive salmon aquaculture on the Atlantic salmon.

Hypothesis

  1. Intensive salmon aquaculture would lead to high reduction of the population of Atlantic salmon.
  2. Moderate salmon aquaculture would result to a low decrease in the population of Atlantic salmon.
  3. The population of Atlantic salmon will be high in areas where aquaculture is not practiced.
  4. Areas where intensive salmon aquaculture is done will be characterized with pollution and in new incidences of pathogens.

Definition of terms

  1. Salmon aquaculture: This is the rearing and harvesting of salmon under conditions which are controlled.
  2. Intensive salmon aquaculture: This is the large scale and commercial production of salmon (rearing and harvesting) under a controlled conditions.
  3. Open system aquaculture: This is the transfer of water supply which is not regulated between wild and captive populations of salmonid.
  4. Ecology- interaction of organism with their environment ( both biotic and abiotic)
  5. Impact: This is the effect of or an impression of one factor on another factor which can either be negative or positive.

Summary

This research paper proposal was based on the impact of intensive salmon aquaculture on the wild Atlantic salmon stock and the study was focusing on the practice of intensive salmon aquaculture in Chile (Buschmann et al., 2009). Wild Atlantic salmon was chosen because of its economic of value and reports that links its decline with the intensive salmon aquaculture. In focus in this paper were the aspects of the ecological and health impacts as a result of intensive salmon aquaculture on Atlantic salmon. The paper also looked at some of the effects that have been associated with intensive aquaculture in the past such as pollution from drugs, feeds, and chemical wastes, change of water flow patterns and current, introduction of pathogens and invasive alien species, and also the genetic impact on the native stocks (Buschmann et al., 2009). This study would be important since its outcome would be used as a basis for the study of the ecological and health impact of intensive aquaculture on the wild species. The recommendation from this study would also be vital in coming up with a method to regulate aquaculture with an aim of extenuating the health and ecological impacts.  The study would also be an important tool in the field of aquaculture since it will help in providing the possible best practices that can be used to eliminate the threats that intensive salmon aquaculture has on wild Atlantic salmon resulting to an intensive salmon aquaculture which is sustainable.

References

Buschmann, A. H., Cabello, F., Young, K., Carvajal, J., Varela, D. A., & Henríquez, L. (2009). Salmon aquaculture and coastal ecosystem health in Chile: analysis of regulations, environmental impacts and bioremediation systems. Ocean & Coastal Management, 52(5), 243-249.

Butler, J.R.A. and Watt, J. (2003). Assessing and Managing the Impacts of Marine Salmon Farms on Wild Atlantic Salmon in Western Scotland: Identifying Priority Rivers for Conservation. New York: Allen & Unwin.

FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture) Technical Paper 519 (2008). Understanding and applying risk analysis in aquaculture. Retrieved on 18th November, 203 from http://www.fao.org/fishery/publications/technical-papers/en

Ford, J.S. and Myers, R.A. (2008). A global assessment of salmon aquaculture impacts on wild salmonids. PloSBiol 6 (2): 23- 50.

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 (1): 131–144.

 

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