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Finland develops real-time application for broodstock enhancement

Cooperation between the Natural Resources Institute Finland and IT company Vatjus-Micro Ltd has produced a real-time broodstock management application that they claim is both cost- and time-effective.

February 1, 2018  By Ruby Gonzalez

Heikki Koskinen demonstrates the application during annual aquaculture expo organized by the Finnish Fish Farmers Association in 2016. Photo credit: Heikki Koskinen

“The Rufco data acquisition system and the real-time application for broodstock management enables direct selection of the phenotypically superior brood fish by one trait or a combination of several traits with given selection criteria with minimum handling and measurements on a large number of fish,” said Heikki Koskinen, senior aquaculture specialist at the Natural Resources Institute Finland, Tervo Fish Farm.

Tervo Fish Farm is the nucleus station for the national selective breeding program in Finland.

“The application also has a real-time function for control of inbreeding and relatedness during the fertilization that enables restriction of the rate of genetic relationships across generations,” he added. “To do this, the application uses pedigree that can be based on DNA analysis and in real-time updating relationship control.”

Increase in yield


The application is based on a hand-held Rufco field computer that is built durable enough to be operated in harsh and moist field conditions.

“Controlling the rate of relationship by the application enables broodstock managers to increase the yields cumulatively from generation to generation,” Koskinen said.

How does it work?

“Depending on the data to be collected, the system can be equipped with a flexible combination of RFID-antenna (for reading of ID-tags), scale, electronic ruler, and Distell Fish Fatmeter,” Koskinen explained. Manual input can also be entered by a user.

The basic software package includes a program that not only enables data-recording on ID-tagged fish, but also searching of predetermined individuals from a larger group of tagged fish by means of a downloaded list of ID-codes. The latter is useful for picking up the selected fish for spawning, and for example, when wanting to make trait records only from a selected sample of individuals.

“All data are stored directly in electronic format and can be transferred into databases for further processing. The real-time application for broodstock management is the most recent extension to the software package in the data acquisition system.”

Effective breeding methods

The data acquisition system still has some cable-connected devices that are not water-proof. This will be improved, he said. “We aim to eliminate most of the cabling by exploiting modern wireless technology in the system.”

The Rufco data acquisition system became available in 2007, and the project for the development of the real-time application for broodstock management was completed in 2016. At present the technology is available in Finland and in several other countries.

The selection tool provides SME broodstock managers with effective breeding methods. The application also helps in maintenance of genetic variation in conservation and management programs, where new broodstocks are established for supportive breeding and restocking.

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