A new protocol shows what sexual maturation looks like in farmed cod. Here an illustration photo of farmed cod in a tank.

A new protocol shows what sexual maturation looks like in farmed cod. Here an illustration photo of farmed cod in a tank.

Photographer: Christine Fagerbakke / HI

New Norwegian protocol shows the maturity stage of farmed cod

Therefore, experts will be able to identify if the farmed cod is ready to spawn.

The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research has developed a new protocol that shows the maturity stage of farmed cod since it is immature till is spawned. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries requested this tool.

Therefore, "farmers can more easily keep an eye on whether the fish is nearing sexual maturity," explained marine researcher Maud Alix.

On the other hand, he warns: "If the farmed cod escapes from facilities or spawn in pens, there is a risk of long-term genetic mixing of farmed cod into the wild cod population."

Consequently, the hybridization of these two species can affect the genes and characteristics of coastal cod, especially in small and vulnerable populations.

Images, descriptions and samples templates

The Institute of Marine Research tool includes maturity stage images, descriptions and templates that can be uses to samples of the fish for further microscopic analysis.

Regarding this last service, Alix clarified: "The template should be a tool that helps farmers take action before there is a risk of the fish spawning in the pen."

Even a 6th generation of farmed cod can spawn in tanks and those eggs will survive, according to Institute of Marine Research studies. It has confirmed that eggs have been found where farmed cod escape has been suspected.

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