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Old 04-20-2001, 07:34 AM
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Conserving fish biodiversity

There is an excellent article in the current issue of American Scientist on the importance of conserving the biodiversity (especially genetic diversity) of Pacific Northwest Salmon as opposed to just concentrating on total numbers of fish. I am posting this to both the general forum and the salmon forum because this issue is relevant to some degree to just about all of our fish stocks.
For example, read the portion on the genetic effects of size selection and you can apply that directly to striped bass.
anyway, the article can be read online at:

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Old 04-20-2001, 11:44 AM
John Desjardins John Desjardins is offline
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Central MA
Posts: 1,839
Thanks Aaron, That is a very good article which is easy to read as well. The size selection effect is something we as fisherman need to be aware of.

I don't have the reference here but about a year ago I read an article somewhere, Nature or Science, most likely, that studied the effect of introducing supposedly sterile fish genetically modified (GM) for growing fast into the wild. If my memory is correct the result was quite disturbing. A low percentage of GM fish were not sterile and due to their faster growth and larger size they were the preferential breeding partners of wild fish. However, their rate of success in breeding was much lower than that of wild fish. After a number of generations the effect of the GM fish on the general population was extinction.

I'll have to look for the article at home and reread it to make sure my statements are correct.
John Desjardins
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Old 04-23-2001, 06:32 AM
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I'm glad you liked the article. Hopefully, similar articles will be published in the future to shed some light on these issues. I've heard of the super salmon you speak of, but have not read the article. I think it absolutely absurd that anyone would claim to be able to ensure sterility in a fish. Organisms and their genomes are for more capable of adaptations, mutations, etc - which would allow reproduction, for example - than promoters of such 'solutions' would believe or admit. And this does not even begin to address the far-reaching ecological implications of introducing a faster growing (i.e., eats more, more aggressive) population. It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming years.

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