“AquaTrace” The development of tools for tracing and evaluating the genetic impact of fish from aquaculture

Einar Eg Nielsen, Dorte Bekkevold, Terje Svåsand, Luca Bargelloni, Paulino Martinez, Filip Volckaert, Rob Ogden, Jann Martinsohn, Gary Carvalho, Louis Bernatchez, Hervé Chavanne, Kevin Glover, Gregory Maes, Martin Taylor, Lucy Webster

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Aquaculture represents a key solution to meet the escalating demand for fish. Accordingly, development of appropriate legislation within the European Union aquaculture sector underpinned by cutting‐edge research and technology is required. This necessitates implementation of breeding programmes and farming technologies which are economically viable, environmentally friendly, and perceived as socially acceptable. Here we present the objectives, implementation, and potential impact of a new EU FP7 project. The rationale behind AquaTrace is development of reliable and cost‐effective molecular tools to identify of the genetic origin of both wild and farmed fish (assignment and genetic traceability), as well as for the detection of interbreeding genetic introgression between farmed and wild stocks. This work will be carried out
on three marine fish of economic significance: the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata), and turbot (Scophthalmus maximus). To address quantitative effects of farm introgression, the rationale is to examine links between key fitness and life‐history traits and
specific functional genetic variation between wild and farmed fish, using Atlantic salmon and brown trout as model species. Thus, the scientific objectives of AquaTrace are to address and assess the genetic impact of aquaculture escapees introducing genes to wild populations that have been undergoing adaptation to farmed conditions through breeding and domestication selection.
Nonetheless, the methods and aims also have implications for our general knowledge of local adaptation in wild populations, and thus also apply in a restocking context (e.g. when locally depleted wild populations are stocked with non‐native strains that are potentially maladapted to local conditions)
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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