A comprehensive survey on selective breeding programs and seed market in the European aquaculture fish industry

Hervé Chavanne*, K.P.E. Janssen, Johann Hofherr, Franca Contini, P. Haffray, J. Komen, E.E. Nielsen, L. Bargelloni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


The use of selective breeding is still relatively limited in aquaculture species. Information on such activities is sparse, hindering an overall evaluation of their success. Here, we report on the results of an online survey of the major aqua-culture breeding companies operating in Europe. Six main reared fish species were targeted. A total of 31 respondents contributed to the survey, representing 75 % of European breeding organizations. Family-based breeding schemes were predominant, but individual selection was more frequently applied in marine species. Artificial fertilization is the preferred means of reproduction; however, mass spawning is often used as a fallback method. The most frequently selected trait is growth performance, but the number of selected traits has been increasing over the years through the addition of traits such as disease resistance or product quality. The use of molecular tools is now common in all programs, mainly for pedigree traceability. An increasing number of programs use either genomic or marker-assisted selection. Results related to the seed production market confirmed that for Atlantic salmon there are a few dominant players at the European level, with 30–50 % market share. Only part of the European fish aquaculture industry today fully exploits selective breeding to the best advantage. A larger impact assessment still needs to be made by the remainder, particularly on the market share of fish seed (eggs, larvae or juveniles) and its consequences for hatchery stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1307
JournalAquaculture International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • European aquaculture
  • Finfish
  • Seed market
  • Selective breeding
  • Survey


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