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Thermal and pH tolerance of farmed, wild and first generation farmed-wild hybrid salmon



In Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), all farmed Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) originate from the Saint John River strain (New Brunswick). It is believed that wild stocks have developed adaptations to the local environment therefore the vulnerability of these local, genetically distinct stocks to farmed escapees through interbreeding is a concern. Farmed salmon escapees may share breeding grounds with wild counterparts, potentially interbreed and produce hybrids which might be poorly suited to survive in the wild. This in turn could impact the overall fitness and survival of the local wild salmon stocks. Studies on interactions between wild and farmed salmon have shown that this issue is area-specific and therefore these interactions need to be further explored within Newfoundland and Labrador.

This project builds upon previous ACRDP research (NL-10-02-004) to examine the effect of genetic origin on the environmental tolerance and fitness of wild, farmed and first generation hybrid (F1 farmed-wild crosses) juvenile salmon when exposed to low pH and low seawater temperatures. This will clarify the ability of these fish (in particular the F1 hybrids) to survive under local environmental conditions (i.e., reduced pH level of river waters and low spring seawater temperatures) occurring in Newfoundland and Labrador. While adverse genetic effects from farmed-wild hybridization might not be evident until the second or later generations, the existence of these generations depends ultimately on the survival of F1 hybrids. The results of this research will help to provide information on the potential impact of farmed escapees on wild stocks.

This project supports the environmental performance objective of the Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP), and pertains to the 2014-15 national ACRDP priority to explore wild-farmed interactions by increasing understanding of the interactions between farmed finfish species and wild species.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2014 - 2015


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Dounia Hamoutene

Collaborative Partner(s)

Cold Ocean Salmon Inc.

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