Underwater vision technology offers advancement in aquaculture breeding selection


August 28, 2019 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Aquaculture News,News-Global



Hendrix Genetics and Plant & Food Research have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to co-develop underwater vision technology for measuring aquaculture breeding stock, using trout as a test case. 

To accurately select the right animal as a breeding parent, geneticists need to track key characteristics, including body weight and morphometrics (size and shape). However, in aquaculture, data collection on individual animals offers significant challenges. Conventional methods, such as weighing scales, are labor intensive and can compromise animal welfare. Underwater vision technology offers a solution to accurately and efficiently identify, measure, and select breeding stock. 

Plant & Food Research has developed new image-based processes to measure a range of traits in fish automatically. The high throughput system uses species-specific distinguishing features, such as visual patterning akin to a fingerprint, to identify individuals and track their growth over time. This information can be used to identify individuals with the right characteristics to offer potential as parents in aquaculture breeding programs.

The development project will assess the viability of this technology in a commercial environment by performing a number of test cases in trout.

Dr Robbert Blonk, R&D Director Aquaculture of Hendrix Genetics states, “Accurate data collection and tracking individuals in aquaculture is key. We look forward to working with Plant & Food Research to implement their state-of-the-art technology to further advance our breeding programs.”

Dr Maren Wellenreuther, Science Group Leader Seafood Production for Plant & Food Research added, “Underwater vision technology has the potential for a huge leap in breeding accuracy and further genetic improvement. We look forward to continuing the development of this technology and see it adopted by industry partners like Hendrix Genetics.”

With the combined expertise in breeding, genetics, and technology, the partners will further develop the techniques that have the potential to improve frequency and accuracy in trait measurements in way with enhanced animal welfare outcomes. This project will increase accuracy of selection in breeding, which translates to healthy, efficient products for the entire aquaculture industry.

Hendrix Genetics, headquartered in the Netherlands, is a leading multi-species breeding company with primary activities in turkeys, layers, traditional poultry, swine, Atlantic salmon, coho salmon, rainbow trout and shrimp breeding. Backed by a strong portfolio of leading brands, Hendrix Genetics provides expertise and resources to producers in more than 100 countries, with operations and joint ventures in 25 countries and over 3,400 employees worldwide. www.hendrix-genetics.com 

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company providing research and development that adds value to horticulture, arable, seafood and food products. With more than 1000 people based at sites across New Zealand, as well as in the USA and Australia, at the heart of Plant & Food Research is a goal to underpin the growth of plant and marine-based industry through the successful application and commercialisation of research-based innovation.