With the rapid growth of aquaculture seen in recent years, one major fundamental problem has arisen being the environmental pollution due to increased numbers of escapee fish interacting with wild populations. A greater public awareness, the need to protect natural resources and increase the food safety requires the development and implementation of new environmental regulations. There is therefore an urgent need to address this negative environmental impact of salmon farming.
To date, two means are available:
<LI> preventing fish escaping by improving cage design and containment
<LI>produce sterile fish.
Although considerable technological advances have been made in the design of cage systems, no system will be fully reliable as escapees through natural disasters are inevitable. Therefore, there is a clear need to revive the previously abandoned triploid concept as the only means, known to date, to address the environmental impact of escapees contributing to genetic pollution.
Furthermore, the production of sterile fish would be very beneficial to salmon breeders as a way to protect their domesticated stocks which are the result of long and costly selection processes aiming to improve important traits such as disease resistance, growth performance and flesh quality. Triploidy would also alleviate early maturation problems and subsequent welfare associated infringements and decreased quality standards.
However, prior to discussing the potential implementation of such a radical change within the salmon farming industry, previously based on equivocal results, a sounder understanding of triploid requirements and performances is needed at a commercial scale given the significant advancement in rearing protocols made throughout the production cycle over the last decades. It is only through the establishment of a strong trans-national collaboration supported by key players of the salmon industry that such a project can be undertaken.