Growth of wild and domesticated Atlantic cod Gadus morhua reared under semi-commercial conditions
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAquaculture Environment Interactions. 2018, 10 187-200. 10.3354/aei00262
Genetic interactions between farmed escapees and wild fish represent a challenge to environmentally sustainable aquaculture. Breeding programs for Atlantic cod Gadus morhua have been initiated; however, the genetic response to selection, and therefore the degree of domestication, has not been evaluated. We compared growth of 2 wild and 2 partly domesticated strains that had been under selection for 2 generations. Offspring of 54 synchronously produced families were reared in 2 common-garden experiments, each consisting of Phase I: parallel rearing in mesocosms and tanks 0-8 mo post-hatch, and Phase II: rearing in tanks or sea-cages 8-18 and 8-34 mo post-hatch, respectively. One of the domesticated strains displayed significantly higher growth compared to the wild Northeast Arctic cod population (48-67% higher weight), while the other domesticated strain had a similar growth rate to the Northeast Arctic cod population. The wild population from southern Norway displayed a significantly higher growth rate compared to the wild Northeast Arctic cod population. These results represent the first experimental estimation of domestication-driven changes in farmed cod, and demonstrate that the first breeding programs for this species have been partially successful, resulting in improved growth rates of cod in 2 generations.