Do wild salmon interact with farmed salmon? If so, how often? These are just some of the questions that a new project hopes to answer to determine why wild salmon populations are declining.
The $500,000 study launched by New Brunswick’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans is in cooperation with the aquaculture industry. It involves establishing 24 receiver sites on Passamaquoddy Bay and the river system. Sixty young salmon were tagged in the river system and then released. Those tags trip a sensor in the receivers when the fish swim within range. That information will inform scientists whether wild salmon are in fact interacting with farmed salmon in open-net pens and how often.
“There are concerns about the potential transfer of disease from wild salmon to aquaculture, but also the potential for transfer of disease from aquaculture to wild salmon,” DFO researcher Marc Trudel told Global News.
With this being a pilot project, it’s not known how long it will take to gather the needed information, or how that data may shape future policies, Trudel added.