Tuesday, March 19, 2013


The barramundi, Lates calcarifer (Bloch), is experiencing a dramatic increase in global aquaculture production due to its desirable marketing quality as an established high quality product for the restaurant sector (Figure 34, Anima, 2010).  Being an euryhaline species, its robustness under culture conditions affords the fish good performance over a wide range of environmental conditions, specifically temperature, salinity and water quality (Le Francois et al., 2010).  Fish are protandrous hermaphrodites starting life as males, reaching maturity at around 3 to 4 years of age and later changing gender and becoming females, usually at age 5 years (DPI&F, 2006).  Fish <80 centimetres are generally male, and those >100 centimetres are usually female. The exceptional growth rate of the barramundi makes it an ideal candidate for selective breeding and the implementation of genetic biotechnologies.   Priority research with a concomitant transfer to industry, is focussing on the identification of QRLs (qualitative and quantitative trait loci) which relate to aspects of growth, age at maturation and reproductive characters, environmental tolerances and disease resistance i.e. specific properties of economic value (Carter et al., 2010).  Exemplarily, a barramundi vaccine is  being developed to enable  prophylactic treatment against bacteriological diseases (Barnes, 2010).

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