New NOAA Technical Memorandum on Genetic Risks Associated with Marine Aquaculture

Marine Aquaculture November 29, 2012|Print

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Aquaculture and scientists at NMFS fisheries science centers are leading the agency’s efforts to increase scientific knowledge in support of its regulatory and management missions pertaining to marine aquaculture. Critical scientific uncertainties need to be addressed to guide research, provide and communicate knowledge, and inform policy and regulatory decisions. There is a range of genetic issues in marine aquaculture, including genetic stock improvement for commercial culture, genetic risks to natural populations, management strategies for mitigating genetic risks, and development of tools to assess relative and acceptable risk. NMFS is sponsoring a series of white papers to address these genetic issues. This technical memorandum, Genetic Risks Associated with Marine Aquaculture, one such paper, is intended to provide an overview of potential genetic risks from a conservation perspective. It is a state-of-the-art summary, identifying areas where additional studies are needed, providing a framework for balancing risks, and supplying examples of how adequate monitoring and evaluation might be done. Additional papers will address genetic improvement, risk mitigation, and a risk assessment modeling effort.

This report is intended for a broad audience, including researchers, natural resource managers, policy makers, the aquaculture and fishing industries, the recreational fishing community, and the public. Accordingly, it is written in a style that should be readable by a broad but informed audience. Genetic terms are defined, complex genetic principles are described, and scientific jargon is avoided or moved to appendices.

The authors are experts in finfish genetics, particularly in conservation of genetic resources of salmonid populations and the interaction of natural and hatchery-reared populations. They have a global perspective and have drawn from the experience of a similar effort in Europe with the development of best management practices for genetic guidelines in aquaculture.

Click here for the full report (PDF)

Walton Dickhoff

Director, Resource Enhancement and Utilization Technologies Division, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, Washington

Michael Rubino

Director, Office of Aquaculture, National Marine Fisheries Service, Silver Spring, Maryland

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