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International News

INLAND FISHERIES ARE BEING OVERLOOKED

That is the view of a report published in ‘Nature Sustainability’ which says that managing freshwater systems to protect inland fish and fisheries will produce substantial co-benefits to people and meet the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals Dr. Sui Phang, Research Fellow at the University of Portsmouth, UK, on of the report’s authors said that Inland fisheries “are frequently undervalued or ignored compared with other sectors, such as agriculture, drinking water, power, sanitation, transportation and marine fisheries. They have become the Cinderella of the natural world." The researchers looked at the relationships between inland fish, sustainable fisheries and functioning freshwater systems to support their argument that inland fisheries contribute to the UN SDGs. Their report outlines the food, economic and environmental benefits of inland fisheries and concludes that the value of inland fisheries in global sustainability efforts needs to be recognised in development policies.

COVID HITS NORWEGIAN EXPORTS

Seafood exports from Norway fell last month for the first time in 18 months, reflecting the impact of Covid-19. Overall seafood exports, including whitefish, pelagics and shellfish totalled 183,000 tonnes in April and were worth £642 million. This was a decline of £52 million or 8% in value, the first decline since September 2018. “This can be explained by the decline of the restaurant segment and increased air freight costs for fresh products to overseas markets,” according to Tom-Jørgen Gangsø, Director of Market Insight and Market Access at the Seafood Council of Norway.

MOWI TO FARM ON WORLD HERITAGE SITE

MOWI has been given official clearance to carry out salmon and trout farming on a UNESCO World Heritage site in a remote region of Northern Norway known as Rødskjæran on the Vega Islands. There has been a long-running dispute between the company and a number of powerful environmental groups about using the site.

42 MSC FISHERIES IN RUSSIA

The awarding of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification to the Russia Barents Sea Greenland Halibut Fishery and Opilio Trap Fishery catching snow crab brings the total number of MSC-certified fisheries in Russia to 42 of which 18 are in the Russian Barents Sea.

GENETICS EXPERTISE COULD TRANSFORM FISH PRODUCTION

A recent review of research highlights how genetics can support development of sustainable aquaculture for global food security. The potential of fish and shellfish production to feed a growing global population could be significantly enhanced through advances in genetics and biotechnology, University of Aberdeen researchers say. Many species of fish and shellfish have been domesticated relatively recently compared with most livestock species, and so have diverse gene pools with major potential for selective breeding, according to the review paper in Nature Reviews Genetics.

The development of tools to gain insight into the genetics of these species, and apply such tools for breeding and management, provides opportunities to release that potential, researchers say.

Most aquaculture species can produce many offspring, and large populations with improved genetics can be bred quickly for improved production performance.

The benefits may include improved growth, resistance to disease or robustness in diverse farming environments.

Farmed fish is on course to overcome wild fish as the main source of seafood, and consequently genetic tools and expertise are in high demand to increase the efficiency and sustainability of aquaculture systems, which currently rely mostly on unselected stocks.

Insight into the genomes of species can enable careful selection of a farming population with desirable traits, and monitoring genomic variation will help maintain genetic diversity as farm populations develop.

In the future, technologies such as genome editing could be used to introduce desirable traits, such as disease resistance, into farmed species, and surrogate breeding could be employed to support production of preferred species.

The review paper, in collaboration with the Roslin Institute and the universities of Stirling and Exeter, is an output of the AquaLeap consortium project. AquaLeap is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, in partnership with the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Hendrix Genetics, Xelect, The National Lobster Hatchery, Tethys oysters, and Otter Ferry SeaFish.

Professor Samuel Martin from the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, said: “New genetic tools and technologies are being now developed that can be applied to farmed aquatic species. Aquaculture is a major contributor of food to a growing human population ensuring food security. Genomic selection and biotechnology can speed up this process, and recent developments in these fields will soon be translated to benefit aquaculture production for many of these species across the world.”