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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2001 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

Preserving Salmon Biodiversity

The number of Pacific salmon has declined dramatically. But the loss of genetic diversity may be a bigger problem

Phillip Levin, Michael Schiewe

Over the last several decades, people living in the Pacific Northwest have seen dwindling numbers of salmonid fishes (which include five species of salmon and two of trout) in local rivers and streams. Much of the loss can be attributed to the destruction of habitat as the region becomes more developed. Some of the blame can also be placed on the inadequate regulation of fishing. The resulting problems go beyond the obvious decline in numbers: The genetic diversity in these fish is also being eroded. Strategies to restore Pacific salmonids to a healthy state will need to ensure that adequate biodiversity is maintained.


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