How Is Genetics Used for Stock Identification?

How Is Genetics Used for Stock Identification?

A.J. Gharrett

How Is Genetics Used for Stock Identification?This is part of What Does Genetics Have to Do with It? 3rd edn
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In this chapter, we examine how genetic methods are applied to stock identification. One of the objectives of fisheries management is to maintain stable, abundant populations that can sustain harvests over long time periods. In order to accomplish that, it is necessary to ensure that sufficient numbers escape fisheries to produce the next generation and that their spawning habitats are efficiently seeded. Although other phases of their life histories are also important, productivity of a species begins with reproduction. Spawning grounds that are too lightly seeded will not produce at their optimum, but overcrowded spawning grounds can also produce diminished numbers of progeny. Many species, such as salmon, are often harvested from mixtures of populations far from the natal streams to which they will return to reproduce. For these harvests, it is difficult to ensure that appropriate numbers of fish will eventually seed spawning grounds because there is often little control over or knowledge of which populations have been harvested. If the origins and/or destinations of the fish harvested in such mixtures could be determined, management would be substantially improved. This process is referred to as stock identification. Stock identification is also useful to establish allocations among user groups, identifying country of origin in order to satisfy requirements of some treaties between nations, and determining the origins of fish caught incidentally as bycatch in other fisheries.

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