Double whammy

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Global warming and hatcheries pumping billions of salmon into the North Pacific Ocean are combining to change the very nature of Alaska sockeye salmon,according to a peer-reviewed study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution this week.

Warming waters in the lakes of Bristol Bay have boosted plankton productivity and caused young salmon to grow faster than in the past, according to a team of scientists led by Timothy Cline of the University of Michigan.

As a result, more young sockeye are going to sea as one-year-old fish instead of spending two years in freshwater. Once at sea, however, the young sockeye face increased competition from pink salmon – many of them hatchery fish – for food.

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