Alien Organisms and trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
What will happen to the wild salmon populations and the river ecosystems if pink salmon is established in Norwegian rivers? What is the risk associated with new pathogens introduced by pink salmon, and how can this affect aquaculture?
This is a couple of the questions that the Norwegian Environmental Agency and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority wish to have the answers to when the Norwegian Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) is asked to asses the consequences of spread and establishment of pink salmon in Norway.
There has been an increase of pink salmon observations in Norwegian rivers since 2003. In 2017, pink salmon was caught in more than half of all rivers inhabited by wild Atlantic salmon. However, it is still unknown whether pink salmon has been established in any of the rivers. Pink salmon is unwanted in Norway due to the potential risk it poses to the biodiversity in Norway.
VKM will assess problems relating to spread, and potential establishment of pink salmon in Norwegian rivers. This included evaluating which rivers are most affected and, what the specific effects are, and what this will mean for the ecosystems in the rivers and on land. Another important aspect is to disclose to what degree pink salmon will compete for food and spawning grounds with the salmonids native to Norway. VKM will also consider whether climate change will affect these interactions, in a 50-year perspective.
An important part of the mandate is to assess various mitigation measures that can be used to hinder spread and establishment, without causing unnecessary harm to local populations.
VKM will also assess the risk of negative impact on both wild and farmed salmon from novel pathogens, introduced by pink salmon, either through regular spread, or through establishment.
VKM`s panel on Alien Organisms and Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will be responsible for the risk assessment. The report will be published in december 2019.