Salmon Losing Distinct Genetics

Eminem

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Nature herself allows straying fish to mix with distinct strains to help introduce and mix up the gene pool to a degree. A strain of fish that becomes "too genetically distinct" to a particular river/environment may exhibit good genetic "strength" but they become extremely vulnerable to a shift or change in their environment. A good balance is what is required, hence the importance of a wee bit of gene mixing.
 

Springer

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Genetic integrity is a load of tosh, IMHO far too much is made of it.

Crash helmet on. :D
 

charlieH

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Genetic integrity is a load of tosh, IMHO far too much is made of it.

Crash helmet on. :D

Whether or not you need a crash helmet may depend on how your conclusion has been arrived at. If it is supported by scientific evidence (of which I've not seen any), it may be a reasonable and defensible position to hold. If, on the other hand, it is in the face of scientific evidence (of which I think there's quite a lot), someone in your position certainly deserves everything that is thrown at you!

As I'm sure your teachers at school used to say, "please show your working".
 

mows

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Genetic integrity is a load of tosh, IMHO far too much is made of it.

Crash helmet on. :D

Couldnt agree more Alan, what a lot of theoretical p**h.
Ive yet to see any conlusive proof of this anywhere, where the introdution of new genes has led to the longterm dertiment of the species.
The only example i am aware of is in humans as we counter act the natural selection process, with medical intervention and as such do demonstrate genetic distortion, i.e bad eyesight, diabetes, poor fertility.
As per the whole principal of gene mixing. That is how everything does develop and change over time, unless you are of an extreme religious bias "lets not go there again".
If the gene is usefull it will become integrated, if it isnt then it will wither and dissapear.
Personally i would love to add some of the positive genes from farmed fish.
Just out of interest, what is wrong with the gene pool on the Clyde?
Cheers

Mows
 
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Thrasher

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Surely genetic diversity is the key to species survival?

Look at pedigree dogs and all of the genetic defects they can have.

I also seem to remember a programme about the Hawaiin Goose and the issues a very small starting population and inbreeding caused its recovery.

In the wider animal kingdom there is always population movement to stop inbreeding.

why does that not apply to salmon?
 

Springer

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Whether or not you need a crash helmet may depend on how your conclusion has been arrived at. If it is supported by scientific evidence (of which I've not seen any), it may be a reasonable and defensible position to hold. If, on the other hand, it is in the face of scientific evidence (of which I think there's quite a lot), someone in your position certainly deserves everything that is thrown at you!

As I'm sure your teachers at school used to say, "please show your working".

My opinion is based on a long telephone conversation I had with Peter Gray who Im sure you will be well aware of Charlie.

When he stocked the Tyne hatchery he took fish from all over the country including small fish from small fish rivers. He also took big fish from the Tay and Nith. They all went into the melting pot.

So what genetic integrity remains in the Tyne I wonder?

ps What position do you consider I hold? other than that of an averagely educated and keen fisherman
 

charlieH

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My opinion is based on a long telephone conversation I had with Peter Gray who Im sure you will be well aware of Charlie.

ps What position do you consider I hold? other than that of an averagely educated and keen fisherman

I feared as much! I know that Peter Gray is regarded as something of a hero by many Tyne fishers who lay much of the credit for the river's recovery with him. But from what I have gathered, there's a good deal of evidence to suggest that the recovery was in the main natural. It might even be said that it was in spite of his efforts, not because of them. I think his seemingly random stocking of fish from all over the UK, with no regard to areas or river types from which they were sourced, would now be regarded by most people as at best eccentric and at worst positively damaging to the river's salmon stocks. Frankly, if he still advocates this sort of willy nilly stocking, I suspect he is more or less a lone voice in the world of salmon fishery management. (Perhaps I wil need to borrow your tin hat for saying all that!)

I don't have time to look out some references to research into the risks of genetic mixing at the moment, but will try to do so later. But just to give you one off the top of my head, have you looked at Eric Verspoor's recent book about salmon and genetics?

As to your position - you are an AAPGAI instructor! As I think you have yourself pointed out, there is a good deal more to this than merely teaching people to cast. All round instruction in fishing surely needs to include a bit about the biology of S. salar, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect someone who holds such a qualification to be reasonably up to speed with current thinking, at least in broad terms. Would you want a child of yours to be taught geography by someone who maintained that the earth was flat?
 

Salmo salar

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Anthropogenic affect

If you move stocks from river to river it will increase straying rate, and if you move salmon later in their life cycle stage e.g. parr in comparison to eyed ova the straying rate will increase further. Transfer of eggs from Scotland/Ireland in early 1990's to Spain might just explain why we saw Spanish salmon off the Irish coast (from tag & DNA samples);)
 

mows

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Charlie,

What relevance is "current thinking".
In the 70s and 80s "current thinking" was that the next ice age was comming. In the 90s and 2000s its global warming.
Thats current thinking for you.
What river has had a LONGTERM negative issue brought about by mixed genetics, what rivers have had a positive change brought on by a change in river enviroment and subsequent change in genetic strains?
These would be actual facts.
Not a dig but genuinely interested.

Regards

Mows
 

Springer

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I feared as much! I know that Peter Gray is regarded as something of a hero by many Tyne fishers who lay much of the credit for the river's recovery with him. But from what I have gathered, there's a good deal of evidence to suggest that the recovery was in the main natural. It might even be said that it was in spite of his efforts, not because of them. I think his seemingly random stocking of fish from all over the UK, with no regard to areas or river types from which they were sourced, would now be regarded by most people as at best eccentric and at worst positively damaging to the river's salmon stocks. Frankly, if he still advocates this sort of willy nilly stocking, I suspect he is more or less a lone voice in the world of salmon fishery management. (Perhaps I wil need to borrow your tin hat for saying all that!)

I don't have time to look out some references to research into the risks of genetic mixing at the moment, but will try to do so later. But just to give you one off the top of my head, have you looked at Eric Verspoor's recent book about salmon and genetics?

As to your position - you are an AAPGAI instructor! As I think you have yourself pointed out, there is a good deal more to this than merely teaching people to cast. All round instruction in fishing surely needs to include a bit about the biology of S. salar, and I don't think it's unreasonable to expect someone who holds such a qualification to be reasonably up to speed with current thinking, at least in broad terms. Would you want a child of yours to be taught geography by someone who maintained that the earth was flat?

Interesting stuff Charlie.

The problem with scientists in they main is they do a lot of talking and little else. Fear of this and fear of that, they can waste 10yrs just debating.

Peter rolled his sleeves up and got on with the job in hand and apparently by coincidence the river recovered :rolleyes:

There are scientists, EA ones for example who would love to discredit his work and close down the hatchery, interestingly that would save the EA a lot of money in the process.

As for AAPGAI and their need for me to be up-to-date with the latest scientific research on salmon genetics, have a word with yourself :rolleyes:
 

rrw35

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Well done that man, I'll join you in the trenches.

I'll man the machine gun.:D:D

There must be so many farmed, hybrid and non indigenous going up each river, that I wouldn't be worrying about genetic integrity.

Pollution, habitat destruction and poaching are far more impactive on runs.
 

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I have spoken to those that have stocked the Tyne, Test, and West Country rivers, also sat in on 100's of EA meetings when stocking has been on the agenda. Having taken in information from both sides I believe that our salmon return to a river due to a gene inplanted just prior to pre-smolt. We are all aware that in general the EA are anti-stocking, why, as Alan said, money. Also I don't think they now have the experience to undertake this type of work in-house.
 

let them all go

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Salmon have survived for far longer than any of us have been around. They managed to do this without the need of hatcheries or the transfer of fish from one region to another. How did they manage this remarkable feat without human interference?, they did it by best adapting them selves to the enviroment they lived in and then happily got on with what they do best.
Genetic differences are easily seen in fish stocks without the need of a DNA testing kit. Run times, spawning times, size differences in various stock components within a river system, different shapes of fish in different parts of the same catchment are all visible signs that genetics play a huge part of a fishs ability to survive within 1 area.
Why try and interfere with mother nature, she knows best.
 
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Deveron

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Let them all go said, "Why try and interfere with mother nature". Man has interfered with mother nature since god was a boy. What would you do if a river only reached 50% of it's conservation level ?. When first introduced by the EA the conservation level meant that was the number of salmon in a river system that was self sustaining. But like other things where money is concerned goal posts can be lowered. There is a case for stocking as long as other conservation measures are undertaken at the same time.
 

ABK

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Regardless of what we think nature has a wonderful way of taking care of itself when it comes to protecting / advancing / strengthening the gene pool of a species. Generally in nature the female chooses the biggest and strongest male. It is the males which compete for the attention / selection of the females. Not always, but mostly it is the local alpha male which gets the female, or females as the case may be. If however the female does not find a male to her liking, then she will not produce the next generation through him. In addition to this there will always be some cross fertilization taking place with farmed salmon, as well as a few lost souls, which for some reason have run the wrong river. Into the equation there is always the the odd sea-trout which will breed with a salmon. The offspring of these also breeding with both species. Scientists and genealogists will tell you that the wider the gene pool, the stronger the species. A wide gene pools makes for a stronger breed, which in turn makes it less susceptible to disease, illness and infections etc. This is the fundamental reason why the human race has been so successful.........an Eskimo can breed with an Australian aborigine.
 
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let them all go

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What would you do if a river only reached 50% of it's conservation level ?.
There is a case for stocking as long as other conservation measures are undertaken at the same time.

If a river reached 50% of its conservation level then you would have to ask why?
For a stock to decline there has to be reasons and those reasons need to be looked at. If the native juvenile salmon are not thriving in a river what makes people think that hatchery fish will do any better?
Hatcheries do work but in the right circumstances and by using correct stocks of fish. They are not the panacea some think.
In an ideal world the best we can do in freshwater is maximise the production of smolts going to sea by using the fish best suited to the river they come from-and in my opinion that is the native stock to that river and not some from an outside source.

It strikes me this debate splits along 2 clear lines. Those who think that hatcheries are the answer to a lot of the salmons problems and those like me who dont.
 
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let them all go

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This is the fundamental reason why the human race has been so successful.........an Eskimo can breed with an Australian aborigine.

I wont argue with you about an eskimos ability to breed with an aborigine and vice versa, but how would an aborigine thrive in the frozen north and an eskimo in the heat and dust of the outback?
What makes you think salmon are any different and would thrive if taken out of their native enviroment?
 

Deveron

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I agree that you need to know why the level had gone that low, which is why I said stocking needs to be undertaken along with other conservation measures. But when a river has reached the stage of no return, and some in this country have or are close to it, what else could you do apart from let it die.
 

mows

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"It strikes me this debate splits along 2 clear lines. Those who think that hatcheries are the answer to a lot of the salmons problems and those like me who dont. "

This isnt about hatcheries, its about unfounded scare mongering claims on how "bad" genetic mixing is.
As far as im concened gene mixing can be a good thing and as for increasing slamon numbers, improving par habitat and conditions at sea will make a far better contribution than hatcheries.

Cheers

Mows
 

weesalmongirl

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I wont argue with you about an eskimos ability to breed with an aborigine and vice versa, but how would an aborigine thrive in the frozen north and an eskimo in the heat and dust of the outback?
What makes you think salmon are any different and would thrive if taken out of their native enviroment?

Ltag

Interesting thought, that.

From Wikepedia

"According to the 2000 U.S. Census, White Americans made up 69.3% of Alaska's population. African Americans made up 3.5% of Alaska's population. In addition, American Indians and Alaska Natives were the largest minority group; they made up 15.6% of Alaska's population. Asian Americans made up 4.0% of Alaska's population. Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.5% of Alaska's population. Individuals from some other race made up 1.6% of Alaska's population while individuals from two or more races made up 5.4% of the state's population. In addition, Hispanics and Latinos (of any race) made up 4.1% of Alaska's population.[26]

CharlieH

your idea/requirements of what an Angling Instructor needs to know is a bit different from the actual needs of anglers/potential anglers. You are very harsh on Springer.

IMHO, there is not a jot of any evidence that mixing the gene pool of a river's Salmon stock has any major negative impact and, in many cases, can only be beneficial if done in a planned and rational way - e.g. not putting potentially large Multi Sea Winter brood stock in small rivers as was the case in some systems in Ireland in the 1980's

Letting Mother Nature simply take its course without some thought or intervention on rivers that are struggling will inevitably mean less sport for anglers. Those responsible for river systems from the Victorian era up to fairly recent times knew that hatcheries worked for them as a means of increasing stocks. I will concede, though, that it is a bit more complicated than that nowadays re what is going on at sea in relation to feeding and so on.

Can anyone tell me of a river in England or Wales which can attribute any improvement in stocks due to the efforts of the EA? I would be delighted to see the evidence.

wsg
 
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Dave Carne

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Whether or not you need a crash helmet may depend on how your conclusion has been arrived at. If it is supported by scientific evidence (of which I've not seen any), it may be a reasonable and defensible position to hold. If, on the other hand, it is in the face of scientific evidence (of which I think there's quite a lot), someone in your position certainly deserves everything that is thrown at you!

As I'm sure your teachers at school used to say, "please show your working".

It IS a load of tosh - quite aside from the small percentage of fish that switch rivers every year naturally (rendering the 'genetic integrity' argument an out and out lie in the first place)...

FIRSTLY how many rivers were substantially restocked after UDN (I know most of the fish in the Eden, which I understand suffered extremely badly, actually came from the Rhine!).

SECONDLY a healthy genetic mix is a positive advantage - as a closed population of limited genetic range (ie a river where there's a small run with a limited number of fish successfully breading - increasing the risk that closely related animals will be mating) increases the risk of genetic susceptability to disease, congenital malformatilities, pollution etc... This is basic O level biology!

THIRDLY as I pointed out when this topic came up the other day - if mixing genetics is a bad thing (which it patently is not) how come every rare animal breading programme in the world operates strictly monitored interbreading programmes to ensure a healthy genetic mix is maintained?

FINALLY it'd be great to maintain a hands off approach towards salmon in the wild - IF man wasn't f*cking with everything else the salmon has to contend with and throwing things out of kilter - I'm sure it's easy to think otherwise if you're lucky enough to be on one of the rivers that have had spectacular runs this year - but I'd like to find someone fishing the Wye (or in my case the Eden) who thinks a meaningful restocking programme is anything other than desperately needed.

Dave

Let em all go - your abomo argument has about as much to do with restocking of fish from a river within a couple of hundred miles (at absolute most) living in essentially the same conditions as brussels sproats have to do with ice hockey.
 
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