Current status of selective breeding in European aquaculture

K.P.E. Janssen, P.B.M. Berentsen, J. Komen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


For the EU funded FP7 research projects Aquatrace and Fishboost, surveys were conducted among breeding companies of the six main species cultured in Europe: Atlantic salmon, Rainbow trout, European seabass, gilthead seabream, common carp and turbot. The objectives were to describe the main characteristics of selective breeding in European aquaculture and to determine its market share in total production. The market share was estimated by comparing the egg or juvenile production originating from breeding companies to the European total egg or juvenile production (in 2012).
For Atlantic salmon all breeding companies performed family selection. Main traits in the breeding goal were growth, processing yield, product quality and disease resistance. Most salmon has been selected for about ten generations. The market share was 93-95%. For rainbow trout most breeding companies performed family selection; selected traits commonly included growth, morphology, processing yield, disease resistance and reproduction.
The number of selected generations in mass selection ranged up to 20 and in family selection up to 14. The market share was 65-68%. Most breeding companies of European seabass and gilthead seabream have integrated their breeding program with production, mainly selecting on growth and morphology. Some of the companies that performed family selection also selected on disease resistance, processing yield, product quality or feed efficiency. For European seabass the number of selected generations ranged from two to eight and for
gilthead seabream from one to five. The market shares were 43-56% for European seabass and 60-66% for gilthead seabream. In turbot two companies performed family selection and one performed mass selection. The number of selected generations was three to five. The market share was 100%. In common carp genetic improvement was largely based on crossbreeding of different lines. Important traits are scaling pattern, health status, sexual maturity and general appearance. It is concluded that, based on the volume of fish production, in total over 75% of the European aquaculture production originates from selective breeding, but there is much variation between species. Most breeding companies perform family selection and growth, morphology, disease resistance, processing yield and product quality are most commonly selected traits.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2015
EventAquaculture Conference 2015, Montpellier, France -
Duration: 23 Aug 201526 Aug 2015


ConferenceAquaculture Conference 2015, Montpellier, France


  • Aquaculture


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