(NaturalNews) Equally as menacing as the potential release of genetically-modified (GM) salmon into the wild, factory fish farms are a modern scourge responsible for killing off droves of native fish species all around the world. And unless immediate action is taken to address this problem - you can help by boycotting all farmed fish when you shop or dine out - wild salmon, an important "keystone" species that sustains entire ecosystems, could become extinct in the not-too-distant future.
While it is true that the general concept of fish farming has been around for centuries, modern day fish farms are exceptionally invasive and damaging, not only to the environment but also to wild fish species. As explained in the new documentary film Salmon Confidential, fish farms are spreading viruses and other diseases to wild fish species, which has led to major declines in wild fish populations. And in the case of wild fish populations near British Columbia, Canada, government corruption is largely to blame for these die-offs.
"When biologist Alexandra Morton discovers BC's wild salmon are testing positive for dangerous European salmon viruses associated with salmon farming worldwide, a chain of events is set off by government to suppress the findings," explains a synopsis of the film. "The film documents Morton's journey as she attempts to overcome government and industry roadblocks thrown in her path and works to bring critical information to the public in time to save BC's wild salmon."
Why keystone species are necessary to sustain life
It would be one thing for wild salmon to merely go extinct in isolation - as devastating as this would be, at least we would have all the other fish and sea life, right? Wrong. Because it is a keystone species, wild salmon are absolutely necessary for the proper function and sustenance of the entire ecosystem. Without wild salmon, in other words, many fish species would die, as would native human populations that rely on wild salmon for food.
"Salmon runs function as enormous pumps that push vast amounts of marine nutrients upstream to the headwaters of otherwise low productivity rivers," explains the Wild Salmon Center about the importance of wild salmon. "Salmon carcasses are the primary food for aquatic invertebrates and fish, as well as terrestrial fauna ranging from marine mammals to birds - eagles, ducks and songbirds - to terrestrial mammals, especially bears and humans."
Wild salmon, in other words, are a delivery system for nutrients that sustains both freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems all across the planet. Over 40 species of birds and mammals just in southeast Alaska rely on salmon for food - just imagine how many species worldwide rely on salmon for survival? The threat to their preponderance as a species is great, and factory fish farms are the leading cause of this threat.
To make matters worse, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to approve the first genetically-engineered (GE) salmon for commercial sale, which recent studies have shown will contaminate native species. So not only will wild salmon have to deal with diseases like infectious salmon anemia virus (ISA) and salmon alphaviruses from farmed fish, but they will also face genetic contamination from GE "Frankensalmon."
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