The Ocean as an economic area - a competitive Europe

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The ocean provides a wide range of goods and services to man; some of them are directly beneficial to the global economy, others indirectly. A large number of these goods and services are closely linked to genomic technologies.


FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE

Nutrition

Safe and healthy food is a prime aim of human society. Proteins play a focal role in the human diet and, on average, 20% is of marine origin. This is achieved through both wild capture and aquaculture. However, the former is in decline, with 50% to 90% of the total biomass of top predators having been lost and continuing to be because of unsustainable fishing (Pauly et al. 2002). In particular, open ocean, polar, deepsea and southern hemisphere shelf stocks have not received the scientific attention they deserve. Because of the poor knowledge and concomitant lack of management and enforcement, these fish stocks are being depleted at an alarming rate.

Farming the ocean

The significance of aquaculture as a provider of nutritional protein for a steadily growing world population might equal wild capture fisheries in the near future. Traditional aquaculture has been increasingly supported by technological developments in husbandry, nutrition, disease management and selection. Genomics is playing a significant role in the selective breeding of seaweeds, fish and shellfish via the use of molecular markers associated with characteristics such as stress responses and disease resistance. These types of markers can also be used in paternity testing, pathogen monitoring and have helped fish farmers to control inbreeding and maintain the standard of their brood stocks.

Certification of origin

Once fish and shellfish have been landed, customers increasingly demand authenticity whereas govern-