In line with the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, wild salmon caught out at sea must be returned to waters unharmed; this ensures the salmon population remains at a sustainable number. However, the illegal selling of wild salmon has proved hard to trace due to a lack of quantitative information differentiating between wild and farmed salmon.
To cease the depletion of wild salmon stocks, those fish found in UK and European waters have been examined using DNA technology. Most wild salmon brought to UK waters will be from regions surrounding Norway; this enables DNA tracing to identify between legal farmed fishing and illegal selling of wild ‘by-catch’ (Environment Agency 2012).
By Ellen Kane, Action 21 volunteer