Pink salmon hatchery programs have been so successful, they are harming other species, says new research.
Scientists from Vancouver Island, Alaska, and Washington State recently published a research article looking at the impacts of pink salmon on the North Pacific. They found there are so many pinks in the ocean they are affecting multiple species from microscopic organisms to killer whales.
Pink salmon abundance has more than doubled since the mid-1970s, thanks to climate change and industrial hatchery programs in Alaska and Russia. Now, they are out-competing other salmon for food. While Chinook salmon decline because of lack of food, so do the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales which eat Chinooks exclusively.
The research article, titled “From diatoms to killer whales: impacts of pink salmon on North Pacific ecosystems,” predicts the trend will continue while oceans continue warming, and as long as hatchery programs continue at current volumes.