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Present and Future Issues in Aquaculture

by Ellen Hardy
26 May 2008, at 1:00am

US - The US inland waters and coasts provide a wide variety of seafood with diverse health benefits. Fish are high in protein and low in fat, and they have an excellent balance of nutritious fatty acids.

As per capita consumption of seafood rises in the United States and throughout the world, ARS scientists across the country are exploring research and development solutions to some of aquaculture's biggest challenges: developing domesticated lines of aquatic animals for farmed production, improving aquatic-animal health and growth efficiency, conserving water resources, and developing novel diets and feed ingredients.

ARS has made significant contributions to the field of aquaculture genetics. Domestication and improvement of hybrid striped bass and yellow perch are in the early stages, while breeding programs for catfish, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and oysters are well under way. Scientists at the Catfish Genetics Research Unit in Stoneville, Mississippi, and at the National Center for Cool and Cold Water Aquaculture in Leetown, West Virginia, are engaged in genomic research and genetic-improvement efforts for channel catfish and rainbow trout. Their work has begun to pay dividends as the genes involved in complex traits such as disease resistance, fillet yield, and response to stress are becoming better understood. In catfish and rainbow trout, selective breeding programs are under way to improve resistance to major bacterial pathogens.

ARS is actively pursuing several strategies for controlling aquatic-animal health, including vaccine development, selective breeding for disease resistance, and therapeutics. Scientists at the Aquatic Animal Health Research Unit, in Auburn, Alabama, have developed and licensed vaccines for enteric septicemia of catfish and columnaris, major pathogens of catfish culture. Other vaccines for warm-water fish diseases are currently in development there, too.

Source: RedOrbit

Ellen Hardy