[29 September/ Stuff]

Plant and Food Senior Scientist Dr Maren Wellenreuther said genomic tools could be a game changer for the fishing industry. Genomics is the study of the genes that control characteristics in organisms. Ms Wellenreuther said its ability to help breeders select desirable traits in parents and offspring was currently and successfully used in plant and animal breeding programmes. However, Ms Wellenreuther said the potential for improving the health and viability of fish stocks remained largely untapped. The Scientist said the use of genomic tools could reverse what is currently an inferior outlook-decreasing stocks, increasing demands, and fish under pressure from environmental change. Ms Wellenreuther added genomics could also help domestic fish populations grow faster, track the impact of hatchery releases, develop disease resistance and identify more wild populations suitable for aquaculture. The costs of genomic tools have decreased over recent times, making their use more feasible for the industry.