The next Science Café on Monday 11 June will address the challenges facing the Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in the marine, freshwater and farmed environments.
The talk will be presented by Dr Ann Pulsford, editor of the Global Marine environment magazine and executive editor of the Journal of the Marine Biological Association at the Laboratory of the Marine Biological Association (MBA) and Sir Alister Hardy Foundation in Plymouth.
The Atlantic salmon is a migratory fish and spends its juvenile life stages in freshwater. It feeds and matures in the North Atlantic returning again to its natal river to breed.
In the past 30 years wild Atlantic salmon stocks have been declining and current marine research has been aimed at identifying the stages of the salmon life cycle which are most at risk from climate change.
The Marine Biological Association has a long history of monitoring fish stocks and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation monitors long term changes in plankton, particularly copepods, a food source for the Atlantic salmon feeding in the North Atlantic.
The river Tamar is one of the most important salmon fishing rivers in the UK and current monitoring and conservation measures have been aimed at improving the spawning grounds and the wild salmon stock.
Atlantic salmon are also the most commonly farmed species of salmon in Scotland and the largest food export. Many of the Scottish sea lochs host salmon farms where millions of fish are kept in cages and fed a diet of fish meal pellets.
The high densities of fish facilitate the transmission of the salmon louse, a copepod parasite, normally present in low numbers on wild fish. Salmon lice now pose a major threat to salmon farming.
The methods used to control these lice, including chemical treatments and biological controls, will be discussed during the talk, and the environmental effects on the affected farmed salmon and the wild populations of Atlantic salmon reviewed.
The health benefits and environmental cost of consuming farmed Atlantic salmon will be discussed.
Dr Ann Pulsford has published numerous scientific papers and articles on fish immunology and parasitology and more recently popular articles on the history of science and disease in the marine environment.
Bath Science Café is a free event that takes place at The Raven in the centre of Bath at 7:30pm. For more information please visit the Bath Science Café website.
The official Twitter hash tag is #BathSciCafe.