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Salmon to follow pigs and poultry in breeding for better performance

UK - Advances in breeding are set to play an increasing part in the development and profitability of salmon farming says Dr Alan Tinch, a leading livestock breeding specialist who, having already worked with pigs and poultry, has now turned his attention to fish.

Salmon to follow pigs and poultry in breeding for better performance - UK - Advances in breeding are set to play an increasing part in the development and profitability of salmon farming says Dr Alan Tinch, a leading livestock breeding specialist who, having already worked with pigs and poultry, has now turned his attention to fish.

The application of conventional genetic methods has been a significant driver of change for many years within the pig and poultry sectors, he told delegates at a major aquaculture conference in Edinburgh today (Thursday, March 30). Similar progress is now being seen in salmon production with the potential for improvement in performance being every bit as great as weve seen for pigs and poultry in recent years.

Dr Tinch, Breeding Programme Director of Landcatch Natural Selection Ltd. (LNS), the Scottish and Chilean-based salmon breeding company was speaking during Aquaculture Today 2006, an event which is designed to explore the innovative potential of the aquaculture sector.

Progress in the production of all farmed animals depends on improvements in genetics, health, nutrition and husbandry, he said. In recent times, industries which are competing with aquaculture for retail sales, such as pigs and poultry, have seen dramatic improvements in performance which has significantly improved the cost of meat production. Compared on a like for like basis using 2005 inputs, the cost of producing pork has improved by 19% in the last 20 years and the cost of producing chicken meat has improved by 49% in the last 30 years. Its now time for salmon to follow the same route to improved performance.

Salmon breeders, and LNS in particular, have been innovative in applying new Genotyping and DNA fingerprinting methods to breed for disease resistance. Ongoing research, carried out in collaboration with Scottish centres of excellence in genetics and genomics, will continue to deliver novel approaches to improving the health and welfare of farmed fish,

While other inputs, particularly health, nutrition and husbandry, will also need to advance, Im convinced that we will see strong incremental improvements in the genetic potential of salmon being realised over the next 10 to 20 years as aquaculture experiences the benefits already seen in other farmed animals.

Breeding specialists within the pig and poultry industries have cooperated with producers to create a wide diversity of product choice for their meats, enabling a wide range of retail opportunities to be addressed. We are beginning to do the same for salmon by combining the impact of improvements to breed, nutrition and production to deliver top-level, end-product quality at an increasingly cost-effective basis. As a result, successful salmon breeding companies will be able to offer producers and processors a fresh and varied range of marketing options, further developing the impact and profitability of salmon production.

Dr Tinch, who brings 17 years of livestock breeding experience into aquaculture, previously worked on poultry genetics with Ross Breeders (now Aviagen) before moving to a major UK pig breeding company. He joined LNS in 2005 to lead the Landcatch breeding programmes in Scotland and Chile.

Currently, LNS, located in Alloa, has a 15% share of the world market in salmon eggs and is set to increase that share to 30% by 2011.

TheFishSite News Desk - 30th March 2006

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