To survey the invasion of the harmful pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha) a collaborative international project 1000 Rivers was launched on September 10th 2019 (in Sweden September 18th 2019). (1000rivers eDNA).Ten countries participate in the survey to detect the species by using eDNA, i.e. capturing DNA traces directly from filtered water.
The pink salmon is a marine fish species that originated from the Northern Arctic and the Northern Pacific oceans. This species reproduces every second year when it migrates from the sea to freshwater rivers. Spawning occurs during summer. The juveniles stay in the freshwater habitats over the winter before migrating out to the sea. The harmful consequences of introduction of the species to new habitats have dire consequences. The juvenile pink salmon eat the eggs and juveniles of local species depleting the local populations, Furthermore the species hybridize with local salmon species causing genetic depletion. The pink salmon may also introduce new diseases into the new habitats. The interest from environmental agencies to locate the new invaders is paramount as it is important to prevent the species from spreading.
Västra Götaland and Halland County Administrative Boards, municipalities, sport fishing organisations, NGOs and the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management will be able to use the data in order to identify localities where the fish species is present. The data is useful for management plans to prevent the species from spreading. At a global level, the data will be incorporated as part of a larger study. See 1000 rivers website for more information (1000rivers.net).
Field biologists Patrick Hernvall and Pähr Hellström are collecting genetic water samples from September 18th to 21st 2019. Project leaders in Sweden Dr. Micaela Hellström and Dr. Tom Staveley conducted fieldwork on the Swedish East Coast where the species was detected in the 1970s. Maps of the survey locations worldwide are made by AquaBiota. Participating countries include Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and France.
We were also involved in ‘Day of the Salmon’ in Falkenberg, read more here Ingemar Alenäs. (in Swedish)