Although several studies have shown genetic differences between hatchery and wild anadromous Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.), none has provided compelling evidence that artificial propagation poses a genetic threat to conservation of naturally spawning populations. When the published studies and three studies in progress are considered collectively, however, they provide strong evidence that the fitness for natural spawning and rearing can be rapidly and substantially reduced by artificial propagation. This issue takes on great importance in the Pacific Northwest where supplementation of wild salmon populations with hatchery fish has been identified as an important tool for restoring these populations. Recognition of negative aspects may lead to restricted use of supplementation, and better conservation, better evaluation, and greater benefits when supplementation is used.
Additional publication details
Genetic changes from artificial propagation of Pacific salmon affect the productivity and viability of supplemented populations