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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Calculating the economic value of genomic technologies in wild and farmed coho production Bendriem, Nathan


Even in the absence of commercial fishing, coho salmon (Onchorhynchus kisutch) originating from the Interior Fraser River (IFR) watershed have yet to recover from the low returns experienced since 1992. New cost-effective management tools based on genomic technology have been developed and may be implemented to address the low returns of IFR coho. Parentage based tagging (PBT) and genomic stock identification (GSI) are used to identify the origin and age of individuals caught in a mixed-stock fishery. These tools are vital in generating estimates of exploitation and survival rates of both wild and hatchery fish, at a lowered cost than the management system in place today. Here, I calculate the economic value of these technologies, and show how sampling costs could decrease while still ensuring that proper regulations are instated, using the IFR populations as a case study. Results show that genomic technologies may provide an additional $65,000 in revenues over the next 32 years, under current ocean conditions, and $953,000 to $1,226,000 over the next 32 years, in favorable ocean conditions, to southern British Columbia (BC) commercial coho fisheries. Similarly, genomic technologies can be used to enhance certain economically important biological traits in aquaculture production, and increase the production of farmed salmon in land-based recirculating systems. Important information regarding carcass quality, disease resistance, flesh colour and growth rate, has been collected for coho and may be applied for breeding programs in BC. Marker assisted selection (MAS) and genomic selection (GS) are two tools used for selective breeding to enhance coho broodstock, based on the traits listed above. To calculate the economic value of these technologies, I estimate the difference in net present value of coho production from enhanced and un-enhanced broodstock. Results indicate that the value of the genomic technologies may be around $1,384,000 over a 10-year span at a production quantity of 115 MT. Improved flesh quality can yield the greatest change in net present value, accounting for 52% of the total change in net present value when the genomic technologies are applied for selective breeding.

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