At PROPERCH our ambition is to deliver genetically superior perch fingerlings that are selected for optimal performance in RAS systems. We have established a breeding program where we select for growth using mass selection. The best performing perch fingerlings from each production are selected as breeding candidates. We have established a rotational design where these breeding candidates from one breeding population is moved forward to the next breeding population. This is a veterinary safe method as we disinfect all fertilized eggs before incubation. The rotational design ensures that our genetic material is mixed resulting in one large breeding population. The breeding candidates are sorted and graded several times before they become mature to ensure the best performing individuals regarding growth and general appearance. When the fish mature, they are tagged with passive integrated transmitters (PIT tags) allowing us to keep track of the records of each individual. As perch have overlapping generations, we have established a database where we collect information about their growth and spawning performance each year ensuring repeated data measurements on each individual that is used to evaluate their potential as breeding candidates.
In the coming years PROPERCH´s idea is to expand our breeding program by establishing a science-based breeding platform in collaboration with the scientific community. The ambition is to effectively enhance desirable traits such as growth and fillet yield while controlling unfavorable traits and rates of inbreeding. As perch is a new aquaculture species, little genetic information exists for the traits of interest in a breeding program. The heritability of traits such as growth, filet yield, stress tolerance, deformities and cannibalism are largely unknown and the same holds for the genetic and phenotypic correlations between the traits.
All these traits are of interest in a perch breeding program and more information about the heritability and the correlations between traits will guide breeding decisions when designing the breeding plan. With the use of DNA technology, we will reestablish pedigrees. Combined with phenotypic measurements, our ambition is to estimate heritability and correlations for some of these traits. Using stochastic simulation, this information will be used to evaluate different breeding scenarios to develop the most optimal breeding plan. The pedigree information will also be used to estimate breeding values and determine rates of inbreeding to ensure a sustainable breeding plan.