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Fishy consequences of transplanting trout, salmon, whitefishes

This press release is available in French.

Montreal, January 26, 2011 Not all trout are created equal. Those swimming up the streams of British Columbia might resemble their cousins from Quebec, yet their genetic makeup is regionally affected and has an impact on how they reproduce, grow and react to environmental stressors.

Such regional variance makes transplanting fish species to bolster dwindling populations tricky business. These are some of the findings of a compelling review published in Heredity, a journal from the Nature Publishing Group, which examined the adaptability of trout, salmon, charr, whitefishes and graylings across North America and Europe.

The investigation, which compared 93 wild and aquaculture fish populations, was led by Concordia University in collaboration with Simon Fraser University, the Universit Laval and the University of British Columbia in Canada and Aarhus University in Denmark.

"We can't treat a species as something that is homogeneous throughout its range. Fish of the same kind are distinct, whether they grow in lakes, ponds or streams," says first author Dylan J. Fraser, a Concordia University biology professor.

"A salmon from Quebec isn't the same as a salmon from the Atlantic provinces or an individual of the same species from Europe," he continues. "There's considerable variation within species. That genetic diversity can allow a specific type of fish to thrive in one region to better adapt to stressors such as climate change or habitat changes while fish stocks of the same species introduced from another region can dwindle."

Economic implications

Since trout, salmon, charr, whitefishes and graylings are important for commercial fishing, recreational fishing and aquaculture industries, Fraser says this review has economic implications for business

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University

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