Wild salmonids are running the gauntlet of pathogens and climate as fish farms expand northwards
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionICES Journal of Marine Science. 2020, . 10.1093/icesjms/fsaa138
Salmon farming has multiplied from a side business of coastal farmers to one of the world's major aquaculture species. This has dramatically altered the disease dynamics between farmed and wild salmonids. As salmon fish farming has increased, new restrictions have been enforced to combat emerging density-dependent impacts of pathogen spillover. In most northern and arctic regions, the effects of pathogens from fish farms on wild salmonids have been minimal for two key reasons: (i) relative low density of fish farms in the north and (ii) cold water temperatures. However, both factors are set to change dramatically. On one side, there is an increasing interest in utilizing northern areas for fish farming due to limited capacity for expansion in mid-latitude regions. On the other side, climate change is rapidly changing these northern ecosystems. High-latitude regions inhabit some of the largest remaining wild Atlantic salmon populations in the world along with sea trout and Arctic charr. Wild salmonids in the north have most likely seldom been exposed to high infection pressure, and we question how these populations will cope with changes that are coming. We identify 12 research questions emerging from these imminent changes and discuss methodologies for addressing them. We conclude that policies related to fish farming must consider uncertainties with respect to pathogen dynamics in the north until these research questions are fully addressed.