The Atlantic salmon has shown a steady decline over the last two centuries, seemingly related to increased industrial development throughout their traditional home range. The situation has become drastically worse since the 1970s and catches of wild salmon have fallen by 80 percent. River pollution caused by industrialisation can severely damage local populations as can the increased number of man-made obstacles such as dams, weirs or the alteration of watercourses, which makes migration impossible. Salmon has become an extremely popular dish in the western world and commercial farming can affect wild populations in a number of ways; escaped salmon may erode the gene pool through interbreeding, or farms may act as foci for the spread of parasites and diseases to wild stocks.
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