The Directorate General, Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC), located in Ispra, Italy, is hosting the 2015 meeting of the ICES Working Group on the Application of Genetics in Fisheries and Mariculture (WGAGFM), comprising sixteen delegates from ten nations, including Iceland, Canada and Russia. In addition to the usual activities of the WGAGFM annual meeting, coordination by the local organiser, Dr Jann Martinsohn, Head of the Maritime Affairs Unit Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector of the JRC, has provided valuable opportunities for interactions with various JRC fisheries scientists focusing on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.
The meeting, chaired by Gary Carvalho, has included a balanced mix of ICES-related policy and activities updates, and discussion of pre-selected Terms of Reference. This year saw the introduction of two multi-annual ToRs (3-year), focusing on mapping the decision channels for integrating WGAGFM advice into fisheries management, and the application of quantitative genetic techniques into non-mariculture marine species, within the context of response to environmental change. The group's 1-year ToR is examining disease and parasite spread from transferred seafood. The focus of this is twofold: first, to review existing molecular tools for routine screening of microorganismal and multicellular parasites, using case-studies as successful examples; and second, to provide insights into the potential application of innovative high-throughput based genetic techniques for early detection of harmful organisms in seafood.
Additional WGAGFM activities include coordination of a theme Session at the 2015 ICES ASC in Copenhagen: A holistic ecosystem approach for marine management and conservation: Opportunities through the application of genetic and genomic approaches. WGAGFM has also responded to the consultation on the ICES Science Plan priorities, and has proposed three new key themes for consideration, including the assessment and monitoring of biodiversity, the integration of multidisciplinary to promoting sustainability and resilience, and the integration of advanced genetic principles and tools into the ICES training portfolio.
ICES will host an aquaculture dialogue meeting in Bergen, Norway from 1-2 June, where industry, stakeholders, managers, scientists, and others from the ICES community will join to discuss a common future developing the science needed to support sustainable aquaculture.
WGAGFM participants in Ispra, May 2015.