Marine fish wild stocks are known to be heavily depleted by overfishing and flatfish species are no exception. Wild catches being soon insufficient for responding to consumer demand, the cultivation of marine species appeared as a logical response to the need of seafood. Nevertheless, fish aquaculture also entails major impacts on wild populations from which genetic ones are now better known. The hybridization between domestic and native strains potentially have a genetic impact on recipient populations as long as 1) domestic populations are distinct from native wild ones (through domestication process, genetic improvement of captive stocks) and/or 2) the native wild populations are structured (metapopulation structure, local adaptation). Some of the flatfish species exhibit population differentiation and even local adaptation and the release of domestic genetically modified fishes (selected, transgenic) could threaten their survival in case of introgression. The impact of aquaculture on flatfishes is probably still low as land-based farms and low production levels guaranty low rates of escapes and therefore limited contacts between wild and farmed strains. However, flatfish aquaculture is regarded by experts as a rapidly growing domain that will greatly develop soon. In our opinion, this perspective, added to the quite good performances of farmed flatfishes when released into the wild, fully justifies a stronger interest from the scientific community to the conservation of their wild stocks.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 1, 2011
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