AEI 8:131-145 (2016)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00164

Evaluating genetic traceability methods for captive‑bred marine fish and their applications in fisheries management and wildlife forensics

Jonas Bylemans1,2,*, Gregory E. Maes1,3, Eveline Diopere1, Alessia Cariani4, Helen Senn5, Martin I. Taylor6, Sarah Helyar7, Luca Bargelloni8, Alessio Bonaldo9, Gary Carvalho10, Ilaria Guarniero9, Hans Komen11, Jann Th. Martinsohn12, Einar E. Nielsen13, Fausto Tinti4, Filip A. M. Volckaert1, Rob Ogden14

1Laboratory of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Genomics, University of Leuven, Ch. Deberiotstraat 32, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
2Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2612, Australia
3Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture, Comparative Genomics Centre, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, 4811 QLD, Australia
4Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna, Ravenna 48123, Italy
5WildGenes Laboratory, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, UK
6School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ, UK
7Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 5BN, UK
8Department of Public Health, Comparative Pathology, and Veterinary Hygiene, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro, Italy
9Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences DIMEVET, University of Bologna, 40064 Bologna, Italy
10Molecular Ecology and Fisheries Genetics Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, Environment Centre Wales, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW, UK
11Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre, Wageningen University, PO Box 338, 6700AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
12JRC.G.4 - Maritime Affairs, Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen (IPSC), Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission, Via Enrico Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra VA, Italy
13Section for Marine Living Resources, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Vejlsøvej 39, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
14TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh EH12 6TS, UK
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Growing demands for marine fish products is leading to increased pressure on already depleted wild populations and a rise in aquaculture production. Consequently, more captive-bred fish are released into the wild through accidental escape or deliberate releases. The increased mixing of captive-bred and wild fish may affect the ecological and/or genetic integrity of wild fish populations. Unambiguous identification tools for captive-bred fish will be highly valuable to manage risks (fisheries management) and tracing of escapees and seafood products (wildlife forensics). Using single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data from captive-bred and wild populations of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua L. and sole Solea solea L., we explored the efficiency of population and parentage assignment techniques for the identification and tracing of captive-bred fish. Simulated and empirical data were used to correct for stochastic genetic effects. Overall, parentage assignment performed well when a large effective population size characterized the broodstock and escapees originated from early generations of captive breeding. Consequently, parentage assignments are particularly useful from a fisheries management perspective to monitor the effects of deliberate releases of captive-bred fish on wild populations. Population assignment proved to be more efficient after several generations of captive breeding, which makes it a useful method in forensic applications for well-established aquaculture species. We suggest the implementation of a case-by-case strategy when choosing the best method.


KEY WORDS: Aquaculture · Conservation genetics · Escapees · Fisheries management · Wildlife forensics


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Cite this article as: Bylemans J, Maes GE, Diopere E, Cariani A and others (2016) Evaluating genetic traceability methods for captive‑bred marine fish and their applications in fisheries management and wildlife forensics. Aquacult Environ Interact 8:131-145. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00164

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