FishPopTrace: a new genetic technique for fisheries monitoring and the identification of IUU

Sarah Helyar, Morten Limborg, Dorte Bekkevold, Martin Taylor, Gary Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


The importance of marine organisms for both economic and ecological reasons is enormous; and knowledge of population structure and connectivity is crucial for the sustainable utilization and conservation of exploited fish stocks. However, in most cases our understanding of these spatial patterns of natural variation at a genetic level is limited. For marine fish, the maintenance of local stocks containing adaptive diversity is associated with the sustainability and resilience of marine fisheries in the face of climatic and anthropogenic threats. However, many previous genetic studies have observed weak genetic structure in marine fish and, combined with a pelagic larval stage, this has supported the hypothesis that gene flow is extensive and that there is little opportunity for differentiation and local adaptation any scale other than macrogeographic. However, the
application of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) has the potential to demonstrate previously undetected spatial and temporal population structuring and signatures of adaptive variation. In addition, SNPs are uniquely applicable for the identification and monitoring of wild fish populations and the traceability/authenticity of products throughout the food supply chain,
allowing effective enforcement of fisheries regulations, and the identification of IUU. Here we demonstrate the utility of SNP panels developed in a European Commission‐funded consortium, FishPopTrace, to scenarios that are relevant for the identification of potential illegal fishing and/or mislabelling for a commercially important Atlantic species herring (Clupea harengus)
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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