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Sustainable Fisheries

Survey objectives

The AquaTrace survey aims at providing a comprehensive view of aquaculture breeding programs and selected species in Europe. Based on the received answers we will depict the implemented breeding strategies and the profile of the breeding organisations running the programs. Knowing the results of the last survey (AQUABREEDING_SURVEY.pdf) we will analyse the broad trend of the sector over the past 4 years. The survey will be executed in close collaboration with the partners of FishBoost, a new EU project on aquaculture breeding, coordinated by NOFIMA. The focus of FishBoost is on the six main species: Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, European sea bass, gilthead sea bream, turbot and common carp.


Survey structure

Confidentiality statements

The procedure in place for data processing will ensure full confidentiality of the collected information:

  • When uploaded, the answers will be stocked in a hard disk and deleted after being transferred to the researchers in charge of the survey.
  • The access to the answers will be limited to the only AquaTrace and FishBoost people involved in the survey.
  • The collected information will be treated in an aggregated way to get a view per species and per country, avoiding any reference to the breeding organisations.
  • The name of the respondent organisation will not be referenced among the survey's participants if expressly requested.
  • A backward system will allow the respondent to review her/his replies for one week following the answer submission.

General notes about the questionnaire:

  • The questionnaire is divided into 3 sections (Breeding strategy, Company profile and Complementary information) and has 19 questions.
  • How to fill the questionnaire:
    • As the questions content are species dependent you are first invited to choose the name of the species
    • A questionnaire is valid for one breeding programme only. If you manage different programs please complete one questionnaire per program.
    • A questionnaire can be registered and retrieved later for completion. Once submitted your answers can still be amended for one week.
    • Note that the questions marked with an asterisk (*) are mandatory and must be completed to proceed further.
  • All questions refer to the 2012 activity, unless otherwise stated.
  • By "juvenile" we intend both "fry" and "fingerling".
  • The definition of terms followed by a question mark (?) can be consulted in the Glossary available under the Menu section of the questionnaire.
  • Inactivity on the web page will cause the system to end the web session; in this case please login again.
  • In case of problem while compiling the questionnaire you can contact Hervé Chavanne by email (panamelioathotmail [dot] com (subject: Questionnaire) (panamelio[at] or by telephone (mobile: +39 349 5758639).


Survey results

The main goal of the AquaTrace project is to assess the genetic impact of aquaculture on wild populations. Among the factors worthy of attention are the selective breeding programs implemented on farmed broodstock. From 33 surveyed programs we depict the breeding strategies, with a hint to the eggs market, on six major European aquaculture species.

The oldest programs are on rainbow trout and salmon (14 and 11 generations, respectively), the carp being a separate case as the species has undergone selective breeding for centuries. In most programs the increase of inbreeding is estimated at each generation (71%) and the number of broodfish involved is above 200 (68%). Artificial fertilisation is systematically implemented on salmon, trout, carp and turbot, while for seabass and seabreamthe technique of mass spawning is preferred. Among the most popular selected traits growth comes first, followed by morphology and disease resistance. The breeding schemes are characterized by a higher proportion of family-based designs on salmonids and turbot. Molecular tools play a key role, as illustrated by the six genomic selection programs running today, the multiplication of marker-assisted selection or the greater use of molecular fingerprinting for pedigree assignment. Alternative genetic improvement technologies (triploidy, tetraploidy, monosex populations, hybrids) are also implemented to increase the production quality and performance.

Spain, Greece and Turkey are the major producers of turbot, seabream and seabass juveniles, respectively. Norway and Turkey, for their part, dominate the salmon and rainbow trout eggs market. These countries are also the major producers (in tons) for the respective species.For a majority of programs the supplied seeds represent less than 30% of the national market, while a dominant position (above 70%) is observed for three programs. Regarding the percentage of selected material in the European seeds market, two broad trendsemerge: on one hand the salmon production is highly penetrated by genetically improved fish (above 87% of the market) and, on the other hand, the other species are characterized by low to medium levels of selection (25 to 48% of the market). Beyond trends these values disguise strong geographical heterogeneity across countries.

Please click here to download the detailed report