An Atlantic Salmon's Journey Towards Recovery - Part 3

This salmon received an injection of Vitamin B1 or a placebo before its release into the Boquet River. Read the article to find out why. Photo by Bill Ardren, US Fish & Wildlife Service.

In the summer of 2016, the first wild-born salmon was documented in Lake Champlain for the first time in two centuries! Stocked salmon have encountered barriers to successful reproduction, such as habitat loss, dams, sea lamprey, and the invasive alewife. First discovered in Lake Champlain in 2003, alewife gradually crowded out rainbow smelt, and replaced them as the primary food source for salmon. The change in diet had a negative consequence because alewife carry an enzyme called Thiaminase that digests Vitamin B1 inside salmon causing the fish to lose an essential compound to metabolize energy. In humans, the lack of Vitamin B1 can lead to a disease called beriberi that interferes with the nervous system and causes heart failure. For Lake Champlain salmon, the deficiency in Vitamin B1 appears to hamper the reproductive cycle making eggs inviable, inhibit juvenile development and may also cause physiological impacts on adults. How do you manage around a problem that affects salmon throughout its life cycle? Read this article, the third in the five-part series from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to learn more.