Red snapper genetic secrets unlocked

Scientists from the US and Canada have developed a customised breeding programme for red snapper, based on genetic analysis.

The research was carried for Mexico-based fish farming company Earth Ocean Farms (EOF), by the Center for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT).

CAT is an R&D and contract service organisation focused on the application of biotechnology tools to improve productivity, efficiency and sustainability in aquaculture and related industries. It is a joint US-Canada operation with facilities located in San Diego, California and in Victoria and Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

The in-house genotyping team at CAT have developed a custom panel of genetic markers to accelerate genetic improvement in red snapper, analyse performance and ensure the overall health of the stock.

The development of this customised breeding program is the first of its kind for Pacific red snapper. It will assist EOF to select for specific traits in the snapper stock that show higher production yields through improved growth performance and phenotypic (observable) traits, and provide insights into feed conversion and product yield.

EOF is an open ocean aquaculture producer rearing two native species, Pacific red snapper (Lutjanus peru)and totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), in the Pacific off Mexico’s Baja region.

Pablo Konietzko, Director General of Earth Ocean Farms said: “The future of sustainably raised red snapper is vitally important to take the pressure off the overfishing of the wild Pacific and Atlantic red snappers while meeting the market demand for this delicious fish.”

John Buchanan, President and CEO of CAT, said: “It is exciting to apply our knowledge to new species. By using a customized approach, our expert team will be able to quickly show significant improvements for EOF. Ensuring a healthy genetic diversity among EOF’s broodstock will provide future options, as flexibility and continued improvement are the keys to profitability.”

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