The FISHBOOST Project
14 well-recognised RTD participants in Europe on aquaculture breeding will collaborate in a five year comprehensive research project with 7 SMEs, 4 large industries and 1 NGO throughout Europe.
A mixture of low and high-tech technological advances will be developed to move the breeding programmes of the six main fin fish species to the next level. This step-change advance will facilitate balanced and sustainable breeding programmes applying a wide set of traits, breeding tools and technologies.
A dissemination program will deliver these results to SMEs and other end-users, thereby advancing existing and stimulating new aquaculture breeding programmes in Europe.
Main aim: "To improve the efficiency and profitability of European aquaculture by advancing selective breeding to the next level for each of the six main finfish species through collaborative research with industry"
The objectives for each of the six finfish species (Atlantic salmon, common carp, European seabass, gilthead seabream, rainbow trout and turbot) are:
- Quantify genetic variation for the most important traits that impact the global efficiency of the European aquaculture production, namely disease resistance, survival, feed efficiency, processing yields and adaptability to alternative diets, in order to increase the output of edible product for a given level of inputs and maximise economic gains.
- Use the latest genomic techniques to uncover the genetic architecture of resistance to major viral, bacterial and parasitic diseases for which there is no cost efficient prevention or treatment method available: Pancreas Disease in Atlantic salmon, Koi Herpes Virus in common carp, VNN in European seabass, Pasteurellosis and Sparicotyle in gilthead seabream, Flavobacteriosis in rainbow trout, and Scuticociliatosis in turbot.
- Identify nonlethal indirect selection criteria for fillet yield and feed efficiency, which presently cannot be efficiently selected for due to the impossibility of recording those traits on live breeding candidates.
- Develop a novel approach (mixture diet designs) to identify robust genetic components of the capacity of fish to thrive on multiple alternative (plant-based) diets.
- To collect and validate phenotypic and genotypic information relevant to real farming conditions by conducting a selected set of experiments directly on industry aquaculture populations and in the premises of our industry participants.
- Evaluate genetic relationships between disease resistance and production traits for more balanced and sustainable breeding goals.
- Develop appropriate statistical models, as well as (cost) efficient and user-friendly tools for more accurate prediction of breeding values by introduction of multitrait models and genomic predictions recognizing the biological and technical constraints of each species, to improve the selection process and be able to predict the genetic gains generated by alternative methods.
- Assess producer perception of selective breeding in aquaculture in order to identify means to improve the acceptance and adoption of advanced selective breeding methods in European aquaculture.
- Review existing breeding programmes in Europe, evaluate the economic impact of next level breeding methods accordingly, and provide a global assessment of the present and future economic impact of selective breeding on the European aquaculture sector.
- Integrate the advanced scientific, socioeconomics and economics information generated in the project in to a general framework for sustainable selective breeding, and produce protocols, guidelines and dissemination events (training sessions, specialised workshops, press articles) for aquaculture breeding companies, potential users of improved seed, aquaculture scientists, policy makers and the general public.