Integrated breeding programs for fish farming

Wageningen University & Research, Animal Breeding & Genomics provides the genetics expertise for an increasing number of breeding programs for fish that improve the growth, health characteristics and product quality of farmed fish.

Farming of fish requires a continuous supply of juvenile fish to be grown to market size. Fish producers often integrate reproduction in their operations. Keeping adult fish to produce offspring requires management of the genetic diversity, and provides the possibility for genetic improvement of the population by selecting the best adults for reproduction.

Genetic improvement is a long term activity. The programs that are currently running at companies in Greece and Singapore aim to become a continuous part of the fish production process. Fish are improved for efficiency of growth, for the quality of the product, and for their health and survival.

The breeding programs are designed based on the reproduction cycle and behavior of the fish, and are integrated in the production cycle of the companies to rapidly incorporate the genetic improvement coming from the breeding program into the farm production. Data recording under local conditions at the farm is an important aspect of the programs to ensure that the genetic improvement is a perfect match with the farm environment(s).

Designing these successful breeding programs includes the combination of knowledge on breeding, reproduction and growing of fish.