AEI prepress abstract  -  DOI:

Growth of wild and domesticated Atlantic cod Gadus morhua reared under semi-commercial conditions

Håkon Otterå*, Mikko Heino, Anne Grete Sørvik Eide, Terje Svåsand, Ørjan Karlsen, Anders Thorsen, Kevin A. Glover


ABSTRACT: Genetic interactions between farmed escapees and wild fish represents a challenge to environmentally sustainable aquaculture. Breeding programs for Atlantic cod have been initiated; however, the genetic response to selection, and therefore the degree of domestication, has not been evaluated. We compared growth of two wild and two partly domesticated strains that had been under selection for two generations. Offspring of 54 synchronously produced families were reared in two common-garden experiments, each consisting of Phase I: parallel rearing in mesocosms and tanks for 0-8 months, and Phase II: rearing in tanks or sea-cages for 8-18 and 8-34 months respectively. One of the domesticated strains displayed significantly higher growth compared to the wild Northeast Arctic cod population (48–67% higher weight), while the other domesticated strain had similar growth rate to the Northeast Arctic cod population. The wild population from southern Norway displayed a significantly higher growth rate compared to the wild Northeast Arctic cod population. These results represent the first experimental estimation of domestication-driven changes in farmed cod, and demonstrate that the first breeding programs for this species have been partially successful, resulting in improved growth rates of cod in two generations.