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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday links: threats of hatchery salmon edition

Today, Water Blogged is kicking back at LOS World Headquarters, sippin' coffee and takin' a spin around the world wide net for oceans-related links.

LOS World Headquarters is somewhere in there. Pretty cool, eh?

Are hatchery-raised salmon a threat to wild salmon? It's not a new question, but there is a new study on the issue, by researchers from Simon Fraser University and the University of Washington, that suggests that hatchery-raised salmon may threaten wild populations in several ways: by competing for limited resources in the North Pacific (creating a new kind of 'tragedy of the commons'); by weakening the genetic makeup of wild populations through interbreeding, and by making the estimation of wild salmon population trends more difficult. If you want more on this subject: Blogfish recently sank its talons into the  hatchery-raised Alaskan salmon issue in an unusually lengthy post.

Things that happen on dry land affect the ocean, too: a new study put out by researchers from Dalhousie University projects that, by 2050, livestock production by itself will take up the vast majority of humanity's 'safe operating space' for greenhouse gas emissions, and will be roughly 300% of our 'safe operating space' for nitrogen mobilization. Greenhouse gas emissions and nitrogen pollution are two pressing concerns facing our oceans today (as they contribute to climate change/ocean acidification and marine 'dead zones', respectively). This study offers more evidence for something that I suggested a few weeks ago: oceans-conscious consumers should be wary of replacing seafood with meat ( full disclosure - I have played croquet with the authors of the Dalhousie study).

So maybe you want to keep eating your burgers, and you're pinning your hopes on the new-fangled idea to seed the ocean with iron to grow plankton to soak up atmospheric carbon. Well, sad news, friend: another study, once again led by a Canadian researcher (what an awesome country!), suggests that it's probably not a very effective way of sequestering carbon - even when it's done on a massive scale.

Heavy stuff! We need a respite from all of this seriousness. Luckily for us, then, that the intriguingly-named WhySharksMatter, who resides over at Southern Fried Science, has put together a helpful summary of how not to apply for a job studying sharks. I understand why NASA never wrote back regarding my query about becoming a moon astronaut.

OK, serious work beckons, so that'll have to do for now. Until later, fans!


  1. Just a note to let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. It's witty and helps to educate me, a lay person, on the very serious topics that you comment on.

  2. Awesome! That's what we're trying to do with this thing, so good to know it's working for at least one person. Thanks!

  3. Is LOS involved in any research that looks into the potential impacts of hatchery or ranched salmon to wild fish? I guess there is fish in/fish out concerns as well as genetic diversity?

    Linda Bochner, Ladner

  4. Hi Linda - to answer your question, no, LOS hasn't been involved in research related to hatchery fish. We work on salmon aquaculture issues through the Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR).