Genetic technology in the management of wild fisheries

From Fish magazine, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, March 2013:

Genetic technology provides a powerful new tool to understand how wild fish populations live,
grow and change, and help ensure the longterm sustainability of wild fisheries.

Genetic technology has an enormous amount to offer the industry, from those in the fisheries right through to the consumer, FRDC executive director Patrick Hone says.

“People thought you could only use it to identify fish species or to work out some sort of population information, but now the technology for genetics has advanced so much and is getting so cheap, we’re using it for many different things,” he says.

“We’re using it for compliance in supermarkets, looking at stock substitution of fish species. We’re using it for a much better detail in terms of population estimates. We can actually use genetics to tell us how many animals and fish are out there in the ocean. We can use it to understand how fish populations move.”

The application of genetic technologies to wild fisheries management has been around for half a century, having originated in the North American salmon fishing industry, says geneticist Jennifer Ovenden, co-author of the report ‘Scoping current and future genetic tools, their limitations and their applications for wild fisheries management’. Its use in Australia is a more recent development, but genetic technology is rapidly proving its worth. Read more (pdf file, article begins on page 4).

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