Scientists at the food institute Nofima have developed a new and efficient DNA test to trace escaped farmed salmon, in which they can link the DNA profile of the escaped fish to the fish farm from which it escaped.
This means system that all the fish in the sea cage do not need to be DNA tested in order to be matched with escaped fish because their parents were tested before the production fish were hatched.
Also, by allowing a certificate of traceability to accompany the roe via the hatchery to the sea-based fish farm, scientists will also have a complete overview of where the offspring were reared.
In order to find the DNA profile, the scientists selected microsatellite markers from the genome of the salmon. DNA markers have been used for several years to trace escaped farmed salmon to sea cages in the area where escaping occurred, but one advantage of this DNA test is that the fish may be traced at a distance from their origins.
Final results from the simulations of the industrial scale should be ready in the winter. Nofima said it’s in the up-scaling for industry that the challenges may lie though. It said the logistics involved in tracing of eggs from the roe producer through to the fish farmer are just as important as the laboratory procedures.