Aquaculture plays a critical role in meeting the world’s future demand for animal protein for human consumption. Genetically improved stocks of aquaculture species are critical for the development of a profitable aquaculture production with better utilization of limited feed, land and water resources.

The maximum wild capture fisheries has been reached causing aquaculture to become the fastest growing food production sector in the world. There is potential for producing considerably more aquaculture products to meet the needs of a rapidly growing world population, but sustainable development depends on more of the aquaculture production being based on herbivorous species and genetically improved stocks.

Well-designed breeding programs have revolutionized the biological efficiency of plant and livestock production through the development of genetically improved, high yielding seed stocks.


Family-based breeding programs are relatively costly to implement and operate, since they require complete pedigree information and advanced statistical analyses to estimate breeding values. Investments in effective breeding programs give very high long-term returns, since selection responses of all targeted traits are cumulative and permanently integrated into the breeding population if selection pressure is maintained.

Efficient dissemination schemes, including a central breeding center and regional multiplier stations, will assure high return of investments in aquaculture breeding programs, usually benefit/cost ratios in the range of 8-400 depending on the target production sector.