The commercialization of growth hormone transgenic Atlantic salmon for aquaculture has become a controversial public policy issue. Concerns exist over the potential ecological effects of this biotechnology should animals escape captivity. From within an ecological risk-analysis framework, science has been sought to provide decision makers with evidence upon which to base regulatory decisions pertaining to genetically modified salmon. Here I review the available empirical information on the potential ecological and genetic effects of transgenic salmon and discuss the underlying eco-evolutionary science behind the topic. I conclude that data gaps and irreducible epistemic uncertainties limit the role of scientific inference in support of ecological risk management for transgenic salmon. I argue that predictive uncertainties are pervasive in complex eco-evolutionary systems and that it behooves those involved in the risk-analysis process to accept and communicate these limitations in the interest of timely, clear, and cautious risk-management options.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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