Spawning of escaped farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): Hybridization of females with brown rout (Salmo trutta)
Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and Fl hybrids between Atlantic salmon and brown trout (Salmo trutta) were distinguished among juvenile salmonids sampled at emergence from rivers in western and northern Scotland. Hybrids were present in samples obtained from seven of the 16 rivers examined. Salmon fry and hybrid fry that were demonstrably the progeny of female salmon that had escaped from fish farms were identified by detecting the presence of maternal canthaxanthin, a synthetic flesh colorant, in the juveniles' pigment load. Canthaxanthin was detected in 101 (4%) of the 2350 salmon and eight (35%) of the 23 hybrids examined. The difference in the frequencies of salmon and hybrids carrying canthaxanthin was significant. Escaped female salmon hybridized with trout more frequently than did wild females.