Atlantic salmon aquaculture in the US.
Genetics and genomics are powerful biological tools for studying fish and fish populations. Just as genetic techniques are used in agriculture to select for and breed crops or animals with desired traits, these tools can be used in aquaculture. Genetic selection in aquaculture may focus on desirable traits, such as improved growth rate, disease resistance, feed conversion, or product quality. In addition to increasing profitability, farmed fish with these traits can increase resource efficiency and environmental sustainability of aquaculture operations by producing less waste, posing less of a disease risk, and using feed more efficiently. Genomics allows for broader genome-wide studies, better detection capabilities and cost effectiveness.
Specifically, genetics and genomics techniques may be used to:
The Offshore Mariculture Escapes Genetic Assessment (OMEGA) Model was developed to address the genetic and ecological effects of escaped fish on wild fish of the same species. It is currently being used to inform permitting decisions by coastal managers.