Fishboost project: Advancements in fish breeding

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Fishboost: Five year project brings new advancements in aquaculture breeding

The EU-commissioned research project Fishboost has contributed to advancements in European aquaculture. Advancements have been made in taking selective breeding to the next level for the six main finfish species. The five year project was established in 2014 and is due to conclude on the 31st of this month.

Nofima lead the way

The project was led by Nofima and 14 other well-recognised Research and Technological Development (RTDs) participants. All specialists in aquaculture breeding in Europe. The project included, 7 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), 4 large industries and 1 NGO throughout Europe.

Five year project creates advancements

A mixture of low and high-tech technological advances have been developed to move the breeding programmes to the next level. This step-change advance has facilitated balanced and sustainable breeding programmes, applying a wide set of traits, breeding tools and technologies.

Sharing knowledge

A dissemination program will deliver these results to SMEs and other end-users. Thereby advancing existing and stimulating new aquaculture breeding programmes in Europe.

SalmoBreed one of the industrial partners involved in the research, sees a potential for transferring knowledge between species. Business Development Director, Håvard Bakke states “SalmoBreed will continue to build partnerships with research and industrial players to drive large production improvements”.

Project objectives

The project outlined a number of objectives for each of the six finfish species (Atlantic salmon, common carp, European seabass, gilthead seabream, rainbow trout and turbot). Read the full report.

Similarly, many breeding programmes in Europe have only concentrated on growth and other traits related to production efficiency. Fishboost has demonstrated the potential of selecting for better disease resistance.

Consequently, the partners have mapped the genes of the main diseases found inherently in each species. Fishboost have used the latest genomic techniques to uncover the genetic architecture of resistance to major viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases. These techniques are usually expensive. However, the partners in Fishboost have developed ways to reduce the cost of using this method with the aim to increase the use of genomic selection in European breeding programmes.

Data was collected through phenotypic and genotypic information relevant to real farming conditions, through experiments conducted directly on industry aquaculture populations and in the premises of the industry participants. These results have helped Fishboost to optimise production efficiency.

Stepping up the Step-Changes

Therefore, Nofima and Fishboost partners will be looking to integrate the advanced scientific, socioeconomics and economics information generated in the project, to a general framework for sustainable selective breeding. They will produce protocols, guidelines and dissemination events (training sessions, specialised workshops, press articles). Subsequently, these will be directed at aquaculture breeding companies, as well as potential users of improved seed, aquaculture scientists, policy makers and the general public.

In conclusion, Nofima explains, the overall aim of the project is, “to improve the efficiency and profitability of European aquaculture by advancing selective breeding to the next level for each of the six main finfish species through collaborative research within the aquaculture industry”

Editor: Victoria Rose

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