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AQUABREEDING — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44424
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Italy

Using genetics to improve fish farming

Promotion of innovation transfer and research activities is crucial for a sustainable industry. A European initiative highlighted the current and future aquaculture breeding programmes in an attempt to improve current practices.
Using genetics to improve fish farming
European aquaculture constitutes a large industrial sector which is characterised by various farmed species and breeding environments. Certain companies have invested in elaborate genetic programmes to enhance stock production. However, this is not the case for small producers who concentrate on sporadic breeding due to lack of infrastructure or resources. To bridge this gap and optimise breeding practices across Europe, it is necessary to review the current situation and propose new integrated research strategies.

This was the main objective of the EU ‘Towards enhanced and sustainable use of genetics and breeding in the European aquaculture industry’ (Aquabreeding) project. The consortium aimed to establish a strategic plan on industrial research activities regarding aquaculture breeding and identify research priorities.

As a first step, reviews on research results and applications in breeding and reproduction were prepared for 10 species. These were disseminated through the project’s website and during the Aquabreeding final workshop. To obtain information on commercial breeding activities the consortium conducted an industrial survey through distribution of a questionnaire to private companies, research organisations and professional associations. Survey results clearly indicated that the aquaculture sector suffered from fragmentation in breeding processes. The research priorities set by the consortium included the genetic improvement of biological efficiency, the introduction of disease resistance traits in farmed species and their correlation with production and welfare.

The establishment of a network was critical for continuous communication between aquaculture research and industry. The Aquabreeding deliverables are anticipated to increase awareness in the aquaculture industry of the benefits of using genetic tools and implementing breeding activities to improve aquatic species production.

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