Unraveling biocomplexity of Northeast Atlantic herring stocks using SNP markers

Dorte Bekkevold, Morten Limborg, Sarah Helyar, Martin Taylor, Einar Eg Nielsen, Gary Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch


Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) exhibit biocomplexity, with widespread, geographically explicit populations that perform long‐range migration to common feeding and wintering areas, where they are exploited by fisheries. This means that exploited stocks do not describe discrete units, thereby complicating stock assessment and management. It is therefore of management interest to
trace individual population migration patterns and contributions to fisheries. To underpin management and to develop a validated tool for traceability of individuals from mixed‐stock samples we applied single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers in Northeast Atlantic herring population samples. Marker panels were targeted to include gene‐associated loci to maximize
statistical resolution. Application of 281 SNP markers to samples representing different levels of stock complexity showed that the regional origin of individual fish and mixed fish samples could be successfully identified at high statistical power. Our results demonstrate the usefulness of genetic stock identification even in fish, such as herring, exhibiting weak neutral genetic structure,
and that such methods allow unprecedented insights into temporal and spatial dynamics applicable to stock assessment methods, as well as presenting a traceability tool for certification of herring and herring products
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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