The Israeli Journal of Aquaculture - Bamidgeh 54(2), 2002
The Annual Dan Popper Symposium


Serge Gorshkov¹ *, Hillel Gordin¹ , Galina Gorshkova¹ , Wayne Knibb²

1 Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research,National Center for Mariculture, P.O.Box 1212, Eilat 88112, Israel
2 Bribie Island, Aquaculture Research Centre, 144 North Street, Woorim P.O.Box 2066, Bribie Island, Queensland 4507, Australia


In Israel, the first systematic long-term selective breeding programs for seabream (Sparus aurata) and sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax ) were initiated at the National Center for Mariculture in the early 1990s. The aim of the program was to increase the efficiency of commercial production by using additive genetic variance for growth. In the first stage of the program, the performance of existing strains and wild populations of seabream and sea bass was tested. The best performing strains were identified as a basis for starting selective breeding.
Family selection was impractical due to specific reproductive constraints in seabream. Since market weight was moderately inherited and responded to selection, an industrial mass selection program was started (at the Ardag fish farm). Three lines of seabream were established to continue the long-term mass selection program and to develop commercial crossbreedings intended for sale of eggs and fingerlings. Industry records from sea cages indicate that the selection response was in the rank of 5-10% per generation. Splitting the broodstocks into several lines assisted in neutralizing inbreeding and provided a high level of security to guard against technical incidents and outbreaks of diseases. New strains of the first domesticated generations of sea bass were developed and released to local mariculture.
The development of other genetic improvement techniques involved interspecific hybridization, chromosome set manipulation, development of monosex stocks and genetic engineering. At present, traditional selective breeding is the major key to genetic improvement of marine fish in Israel and can easily be implemented at a relatively low cost.

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