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PFA conducts genetic research on populations of pelagic fish

16 November 2021

PFA conducts genetic research on populations of pelagic fish


Strengthening the knowledge base on populations of pelagic fish like herring and horse mackerel is important to the management of stocks and therefore also for the PFA.


Since 2015 we have been investing into genetic research on the different populations of herring and horse mackerel. While substantial progress has been made on the genetic techniques to discriminate between populations, an important bottleneck remained with regards to the collection of genetic samples.

Such data collection was very laborious and therefore quite difficult to organize. In collaboration with different fishing industry partners, genetic experts and a laboratory tools supplier, a breakthrough has been achieved in the collection of genetic samples. Genetic tissue can now be extracted from individual fish with simple, ready-made test tubes.


In the picture, the PFA Chief Science Officer Martin Pastoors is taking some genetic tissue samples of herring at the Lab facilities of Wageningen Marine Research. This opens up exciting new ways of addressing questions about the mixing of different populations in different seasons and areas.


Accumulating knowledge and data for further scientific research is essential for a responsible and sustainable fishery targeting pelagic fish stocks. The PFA and their members are committed to collaborate with science so that future generations can also benefit from the sea as a source of food and income.



PFA represents the interests of nine European freezer-trawler companies involved in pelagic fishing activities for human consumption.

Learn more about the PFA policy of sustainable and responsible production.

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