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Better late than never

Perhaps DNA profiling of escaped farm salmon is a productive study area after all


Ten years on …
Ten years on …

Scientists at Naima, the Norwegian food research institute, have developed an effective DNA test for the detection of escaped farm salmon; where they can link the DNA profile of escaped fish to the farm from which they escaped. Testing of the system showed it to be virtually 100% accurate.

The offspring of parents each have a unique DNA profile and by sending all fertilised eggs from one set of parents, or parent group, to a smelt producer with a tracking certificate, any fish will have a unique DNA profile. This will allow the fish to be followed when it is later moved into cages in the sea.

More than a decade ago scientists at St Andrews University in Scotland were engaged in similar research. If completed, it would have meant that farmers responsible for allowing hundreds of thousands of their fish to escape could be identified. But this research was curtailed by government who said that there were “more productive study areas”. Or, to put it another way, let’s not do anything that might embarrass the fish farmers. Still, better late than never, I suppose?

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