Atlantic salmon roe - CSIRO is involved in a joint breeding program which will improve the quality of Atlantic salmon being produced in Tasmania.
‘Blueblood’ salmon bloodlines for Tasmania
A new science-industry partnership is recruiting an elite pool of Atlantic salmon bloodlines to transform Tasmania’s A$170 million Atlantic salmon industry.
Only the healthiest, fastest growing and finest quality Atlantic salmon families will be selected in a commercial breeding program being developed by Salmon Enterprises of Tasmania (Saltas) and CSIRO through the Food Futures Flagship.
The project will breed, ‘DNA fingerprint’ and measure tens of thousands of fish to provide industry with the ongoing capacity to select salmon bloodlines best suited to Tasmanian farms, and the tastes of Australian salmon consumers.
CSIRO Food Futures Flagship Director, Dr Bruce Lee, says the selective breeding program will enhance both the value of Tasmania’s salmon stocks and the capacity of industry to respond to changing production and market needs.
Each year, more than 5000 fish representing 140 salmon families are DNA fingerprinted and electronically tagged so their growth and health can be monitored.
“The breeding program will produce faster-growing, healthy fish with the deep, red flesh and high omega-3 oil content now proven to provide significant health benefits,” Dr Lee says.
“It also will generate a massive database of information about each fish and its family connections, allowing the use of modern genetic tools to improve the precision of the selection process and the returns to industry.”
Tasmania’s Primary Industries and Water Minister, David Llewellyn, says the project exemplifies a smart approach to primary industry research and development.
“The State Government maintains a quarter share of Saltas,” Mr Llewellyn says. “We have supported the development of a selective breeding program since 2002. The return to Tasmanian primary industry from tailored, high-quality research by Saltas and CSIRO is very good value for the community’s investment.”
Saltas Board chairman, John Harry, says the majority of Tasmanian-grown Atlantic salmon begin life at the Saltas freshwater hatcheries at Wayatinah in the state’s Central Highlands.
“The Saltas stocks have been managed to maintain high levels of genetic variation, providing an excellent foundation for making great gains through selective breeding,” Mr Harry says.
“We’re building on this foundation with a large-scale breeding program that will select a small percentage of elite fish as parents. We expect to achieve up to a 10 per cent improvement for key commercial traits each generation.”
Each year, more than 5000 fish representing 140 salmon families are DNA fingerprinted and electronically tagged so their growth and health can be monitored. The tagged fish are grown in freshwater at Saltas, and in seawater at Tassal’s Dover aquaculture facility. Tens of thousands of performance measurements are evaluated each year.
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