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Pacific Northwest Salmon are in Big Genetic Trouble

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Over the past 7000 years, Chinook salmon in the Columbia River have lost two-thirds of their genetic diversity. Rich Landers/The Spokesman-Review via AP

Pacific Northwest salmon are in big genetic trouble

Science Magazine

Chinook salmon, an iconic species in the Pacific Northwest, have lost up to two-thirds of their genetic diversity over the past 7000 years, researchers report. The finding underscores a long-held concern that future salmon populations are imperiled by a combination of stream habitat loss, overfishing, dams, and the release of millions of fingerlings from hatcheries—even as the fish try to respond to climate change and ocean acidification.