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Farmed barramundi. (Photo: ABFA/FIS)

Barramundi selective breeding program continues

Click on the flag for more information about Australia AUSTRALIA
Friday, November 19, 2010, 14:20 (GMT + 9)

The Australian Barramundi Farmers Association (ABFA) and the Australian Seafood Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) have notably decided to advance with the progress of a selective breeding programme that may produce more than a 10 per cent growth rate per generation of selection. 

ABFA noted that a sector wide breeding scheme founded on a model of a breeding nucleus run by a not-for-profit breeding company will boost the industry’s cooperation, productivity and sustainability as well as the country’s plus global competitiveness both.  

ABFA President Marty Phillips anticipates that the programme’s benefit-cost ratio could reach 18:1 over a decade. 

“We expect that the programme will result in a much more efficient and sustainable industry, particularly in Queensland and the Northern Territory where the largest production occurs,” he said. 

Important genetic traits such as fillet yield and eating quality will be considered in the programme. In its creation, focus went on making it cost efficient and sensible to lead to robust genetic improvement.

As this entails a long term commitment, years will pass before the industry can reap the full benefits of the programme. There will be pilot scale test spawning next January with initial funds by the Australian Seafood CRC.  

Barramundi farming. (Photo: ABFA)

The idea is for the programme to fund itself once selectively bred stock go on sale to the sector. 

Dr Nick Robinson of Flinders University and Nofima and Justin Forrester of Good Fortune Bay Barramundi came up with the plans for the scheme, which were examined by the industry at a recent gathering in Cairns. The programme will employ the latest genetic knowhow and hatchery technology. 

Because the biology of barramundi is unusually challenging for selective breeding -- for instance, all barramundi mature first as males and years later differentiate into females -- the programme requires planning for the latest generation of males and females to spawn together. Pioneering solutions are already in the works and research will be key in the beginning phases of the scheme.

The programme will use the best hatchery and grow out facilities available and biosecurity and backup of the selectively improved families will be especially prioritised. Families from each generation will tested in several different locations as a biosecurity measure and to collect performance data. 

The project will offer the best of the latest generation of selectively improved stock to the industry. This is considered indispensable for bolstering the efficiency, profitability and competitiveness of the local industry, which faces competition from Asia where a selective breeding programme has already started.

Related articles:

- Farmed barramundi industry to get an immunity boost
- Aquaculture has promising future: study 

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

 


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