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Genetic identification of fish eggs by species-specific DNA markers for use in stock biomass assessments and detection of commercial fraud


We have developed genetic markers for accurate identification of the early stage eggs of Atlantic horse-mackerel, Mediterranean horse-mackerel, blue jack mackerel, snipe fish, mackerel, Spanish mackerel, cod, haddock, whiting, hake, common megrim and four-dotted megrim. The results will be employed for stock assessment of these species. We have disseminated this result in International Symposia (ICES Congress 2002, 4th World Fisheries Congress, AFS Symposium 2004 and others). It will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. It has also been communicated to different ICES work groups. The main innovation is to obtain unambiguous genetic results from formalin-fixed eggs allowing a perfect identification of the target species. The expected benefits are mainly related to a sustainable management of the target species. Application: Fisheries management.
We have developed two different types of genetic markers for traceability of hakes. One is based on microsatellite variation. It has been already published in Journal of Food Protection. Three different species can be identified. The other species-specific markers are based on 5S rRNA genes. Employing these markers it is possible to identify 9 hake species. The marker was submitted for patent to the Spanish Agency of Patents and Trades in 2001 and is still under study. After submitting the patent we have sent the main results for publication to the Journal of Food Protection. The MARINEGGS commercial partner, Pescados Paco (Spain) is interested in the commercial exploitation of the patent, if accepted. Use of the result: fraud and/or mislabelling detection in commercial hake markets. Benefits: Quality of fish food.