A major challenge to the growth of the global human population is the food security. Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production sector and it contributes significantly to global food security. Climate change may result in global warming, saline water intrusion, limited water availability, and ocean acidification, all of which may affect aquaculture, either negatively or positively.
In a recent Smart Sea paper, strategies were developed to set forth the ways animal breeding programmes of aquaculture species can mitigate climate change, and aid aquaculture industry to adapt to climate change.
Genetic potential to adapt to climate change
Animal breeding programmes make farmed animals more sustainable by means of selection and genetic improvement. There is genetic variation in aquaculture species allowing breeding programmes to make them genetically adapted to environmental changes caused by climate change (Sae-Lim et al. 2016. Reviews in Aquaculture 8: 369-393).
Adaptive measures to cope with climate change
To cope with the challenges of climate change, three major adaptive strategies can be taken.
First, general ‘robustness’ will become even more important trait in aquaculture, whereby fish will be less vulnerable to current and new diseases while at the same time thriving in a wider range of temperatures.
Second, to make aquaculture more resource efficient, selection for feed efficiency and production efficiency will reduce impacts of aquaculture on climate change.
Finally, the limited adoption of breeding programs in aquaculture across the world is a major concern. The carbon footprint per kg fish produced would be smaller when fish from breeding programmes would be more commonly used in aquaculture operations.
International Smart Sea co-operation
The work was conducted under the SmartSea project as a part of the long-term co-operation between Natural Resources Institute Finland, Nofima from Norway, and Wageningen University from the Netherlands.
- Sae-Lim, A. Kause, H. A. Mulder and I. Olesen. 2017. Climate change and selective breeding in aquaculture. Journal of Animal Science 95:1801-1812. doi:10.2527/jas2016.1066
Contact person for more information:
Principal Research Scientist Antti Kause, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 29 532 6222
In a recent Smart Sea paper, strategies were developed to set forth the ways animal breeding programmes of aquaculture species
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