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Wild fish predation project

Wild Fish Predation Project infographic

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Since spring of 2017, DFO has been sampling the stomach contents of farmed Chinook and Atlantic Salmon to see if they contain any wild fish.


Atlantic and Chinook salmon naturally prey upon fish in the wild. Because of this, there is some concern that farmed salmon could eat wild fish. While past research suggests predation is minimal, this is the most comprehensive study of its kind to take place in BC.

Marine finfish aquaculture facilities use mesh net pens to contain farmed fish, which allow free-flowing water through the system. This continuous source of water provides oxygen to the fish, which is a key component in maintaining healthy fish.

Occasionally, wild fish enter the nets, where they may co-exist with farmed fish and may consume fish feed. If they stay long enough, wild fish may grow too large to leave through the mesh.

When farmed fish are harvested, licence holders are required to carefully remove wild fish from nets and return them to the marine environment. They must also report any wild fish captured or released to DFO. Many more wild fish are released live than killed.

Pacific herring is the most common wild fish observed in BC fish farms, although Pacific cod, perch, rockfish and other species can also be found depending on the location.

Study design


Next steps

How does DFO protect wild fish?

DFO publishes data on incidental catch from BC aquaculture sites online

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