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Genetics: contributing to sustainable fishing

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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Genetics: contributing to sustainable fishing

Its use is not new in the fisheries sector but it has considerably expanded in recent years: the use of genetics is increasingly supplementing the old methods of identification based on protein profiles and adds to existing verification procedures. Research from European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) shows that new technologies in the field can be used to identify species and detect fraud help guarantee sustainable fishing as  normally checks carried out by control authorities, fraud squads, consumer associations or NGOs seem to show high levels of labelling errors: 10- 40 % of products present incorrect information, which does not only concern consumer protection but fisheries regulations.
While traceability tests become less costly , DNA sequencing is being carried out on a growing number of species. As more than 200 commercial fish species are already registered in a genetic catalogue, the main goal now is to give analytical laboratories in Member States access to common registers. ‘Fishtrace’, the existing online database which is financed under the European Union’s fifth research framework programme, is the first step.

Source: European Commission