Salmon Syndrome M74: Cause Still A Mystery

uch as chlorinated organic compounds (PCB, dioxins, etc.), no such link has not been confirmed. No evidence has been found that heavy metals, bacteria or viruses are associated with M74.

There seems to be a link between M 74 and pale colour in Baltic salmon roe. There also seems to be a connection between the stock of sprat, a prey fish, and M74. Some researchers suspect that the relation between sprat and other fish is affected by excessive nutrient enrichment of the Baltic sea as well as by intensive fishing of Baltic cod. In hatcheries, salmon roe and fry can be treated with Vitamin B1 (thiamine). But there is no method for treating the threatened stocks of wild salmon.

"It is most likely that M74 is caused by several interacting factors, which stem from our influence on the Baltic ecosystem. These factors cause effects to be reinforced and can lead to severe environmental problems. Such interaction is hard to establish and increases the demand for basic ecological research in the Baltic sea. Even if this particular research programme has come to an end, it is important that such research continues", says Bengt-Erik Bengtsson.

Baltic sea trout, which is a relative of salmon, is also affected by M74. Reproductive problems in Baltic cod can, however, be explained by poor oxygen conditions in its feeding grounds and heavy fishing pressure.


Contact: Cathy Hill
Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

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