Thursday May 9, 2024


A study has revealed the way salmon caught at different points in time are evolving genetically due to fish-catching activities. Atlantic Salmon, caught when fish are migrating to spawn, are genetically different from their other counterparts elsewhere. 

The study on wild salmon in the northern Baltic Sea pointed out that during the early part of the fishing season, fishing activity chiefly targets salmon carrying a “large salmon genetic variant.” 

The variant guides Atlantic Salmon to grow large and to mature at an older age, an important characteristic for the fishing and viability of Salmon stocks.

The findings are published in the journal Evolutionary Applications.

Scientists pursued genetic analyses on thousands of wild salmon caught between 1928 and 2020 from the northern Baltic Sea region. 

Fishers caught salmon with the “large salmon variant” more often in the early than late fishing season.

“This finding suggests that the timing of fishing may cause evolutionary changes in the age and size that Atlantic salmon reach before maturation. Intensive fishing especially in the early fishing season may lead to the ‘large salmon variant’ becoming rarer and to salmon spawning at a younger age and smaller size,” the lead author of the study Antti Miettinen, PhD, from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki, said in an official statement. 

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