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Farmed escaped salmon traced with DNA

A fish farm in western Norway is currently under police investigation after being identified by the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) as the source of a salmon escape. This is the first example of DNA methods being used to trace farmed escaped salmon to source of origin.

In September last year, IMR was asked to assist the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries in finding the source of an unusual amount of escaped salmon which were recaptured in a fjord on the west coast of Norway.

The Directorate took samples from all fish farms in the area and delivered them to IMR in Bergen. Samples from the escapees were also collected and analysed.

Results indicated that most of the recaptured escapees originated from a specific cage, and that it was highly unlikely that the escapees came from any other fish farm.

A scientific breakthrough

In recent years, IMR has been testing the use of DNA methods to trace escaped salmon to farm of origin. The current investigation is considered a breakthrough, as this is the first time that such methods have been used to successfully identify the source of an escape.

Symposium in July

The potential genetic effects of aquaculture on natural fish populations will be discussed in Bergen on 2-4 July 2007 during the International Symposium on Genetic Impacts from Aquaculture: Meeting the Challenge in Europe.

Yvonne Robberstad | alfa
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