Powerful and versatile new genetic tools that will assist in safeguarding both European fish stocks and European consumers is reported in Nature Communications (DOI 10.1038/ncomms1845 22/05/12). The paper reports on the first system proven to identify populations of fish species to a forensic level of validation.
With up to 25% of fish catches being caught illegally across the world, and with an estimated cost to Europe of up to 10 billion by 2020, the EU were eager to address the problems facing the European fishing industry. One major initiative was to fund the EU project behind the latest development: a three year, four million Euro pan-European project, called "FishPopTrace" led by Bangor University, UK.
The EU has already introduced a law requiring any fish sold in the EU to be identified with the species and region of origin on the label from 2011. The same regulation explicitly requires EU Member States to undertake pilot studies of novel traceability tools by 2013 to test the authenticity of this labelling. Furthermore, awareness and take up of the product is already in hand. In the UK, DEFRA have recently announced that they are to begin a pilot project to introduce the tools and train their own staff and the UK fishing industry to collect, manage and store the samples to forensic standards. .
Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon said: "Illegal fishing is not just theft from responsible fishermen and fishing communities it has a devastating impact on the fish in our seas and oceans. I'm delighted to see a project as innovative and revolutionary as FishPopTrace come to fruition. Protecting our seas and our honest fishermen from this abuse would be a remarkable achievement and I am confident that this technology will prove highly valuable in efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries globally."
Prof Gary Carvalho who headed the FishPopTrace EU consortium behind the new validation t
|Contact: Elinor Elis-Williams|