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Study: Hatchery marking practice cripples salmon

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Salmon hatcheries commonly amputate the adipose fins of their progeny to distinguish them from their wild counterparts, but according to CBC News, a new study has found the fins are much more important than previously thought. The study indicates the tiny fins between the dorsal and tail are more like sensory organs than fins, and that amputating them is more like cutting off a hand than trimming a fingernail. One of the lead researchers says that removing them causes the fish to expend much more energy to maintain speed and position in the water, suggesting that hatcheries may want to investigate alternate means of marking fish. Read more from CBC, here, and even more from The Journal of Experimental Biology.