As an example, Gjedrem used the Atlantic salmon, which is said to be “the only aquatic species where close to 100% of the fish produced are genetically improved.” At present a four-kg Atlantic salmon takes only two years to produce, which is half the time it took in the 1970s.
The economic benefits: Production is doubled using the same infrastructure; loss due to mortality is reduced (because length of life is shortened); cost of labor per kg fish produced is markedly reduced (close to halved); and by providing such benefits, the breeding programs have revolutionized salmon production.
“If FCR is 30% improved by selection after 11 generations compared with the wild base population this means that the Norwegian salmon production today saves $0.7to 0.8 billion in feed costs because of efficient breeding programs,” he said.
For more aquatic species breeding programs to be implemented, he recommended the following actions:
- Scientists and aquaculture organizations should inform farmers about the great benefit of using genetically improved stocks and further, encourage them to form cooperatives and start breeding programs.
- Local governments should stimulate as well as financially support establishment of breeding programs.
- The number of farmed species should be reduced/maximized because running a breeding program has a cost.
– Ruby Gonzalez