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GENIMPACT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 22802
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Norway

Keeping farmed fish on the farm and out of the wild

Following a series of workshops, important gaps in our knowledge of how farmed fish interact with their wild counterparts have been identified.
Keeping farmed fish on the farm and out of the wild
One out of every two fish on our dinner plate has come from a fish farm rather than the wild. This ratio is only expected to continue to shift in favour of aquaculture. With so many farmed fish, it's not surprising that some escape to interact with the local ecosystem. What effect this is having, no one is quite sure.

Rising public concern over possible health impacts has prompted research in this area. The 'Evaluation of genetic impact of aquaculture activities on native populations - A European network' (Genimpact) project focused on the threat of genetic contamination. A team of experts was assembled with the aid of European funding.

Workshops proved to be an integral tool for gathering the experts under one roof. Three initial workshops tackled themes such as interbreeding, interactions between species and risk assessment. Future research needs were identified during a fourth workshop and presented at an international symposium attended by more than 60 representatives from government, industry and academia.

Some research has been carried out for the Atlantic salmon, but it is clear this needs to be built on and then applied to other species. With respect to the difficulty in tracking the so-called escapees, the identification of genetic markers offers considerable potential assuming costs continue to come down.

Thanks to Genimpact, a much clearer picture of where research in responsible aquaculture management needs to go from here now exists. The public can also be better informed through the project website.

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