Genetics and Hatcheries

Genetics and Hatcheries

A.J. Gharrett and W.W. Smoker

Genetics and HatcheriesThis is part of What Does Genetics Have to Do with It? 3rd edn
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The term aquaculture includes a variety of different methods to propagate fish and shellfish as well as some plant species. Hatcheries, where fish and shellfish are artificially spawned and where embryos and early life stages are kept, are a prominent feature of aquaculture. Both freshwater and marine species are included, and usually some aspects of the process involve human intervention and artificial environments. The primary reasons for aquaculture throughout the world are economics and the demand for high-quality protein and fat, but hatcheries are also used to address conservation problems. Because humans are involved and artificial habitats are often used, there will be pressures on the cultured populations that potentially alter the gene pool. Cultured populations can reduce resources that are available to the wild populations because the cultured populations consume them. If cultured populations and wild populations interbreed, wild gene pools can be altered. These interactions can be important concerns. In this chapter, we examine some of the intersections of genetics and hatcheries.

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