Scientists at Nofima (Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research) have developed a DNA test to detect escaped farmed salmon, which allows to trace DNA profile of escaped fish to the plant it comes from.
Small-scale testing of the system showed 100% virtually accuracy and simulation of data at industrial scale is promising, according to Nofima.
To follow an escaped fish to its owner, scientists find gene variants to the parents of all farmed salmon by cutting the fat fins and analyzing their DNA.
The offspring of common parents have a unique DNA profile, and by sending all fertilized eggs from one set of parents or parent group to a smolt producer with a tracking certificate, any fish at each smolt producer would have a unique DNA profile. This would allow to trace the fish transferred to a facility in the sea.
The DNA profile would be recorded in a national database so that the fish in the net cage is not required to be tested in case of suspected escapes.
DNA analysis of an escaped salmon would thus be able to match the gene profiles of the responsible company.