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Assessing and improving the quality of aquatic animal gametes to enhance aquatic resources – The need to harmonize and standardize evolving methodologies, and improve transfer from academia to industry

During the past six years, three international workshops on fish gametes demonstrated a rapid development of methodologies that encompass extensive opportunities for promising use in basic reproductive biology, genetic research, biotechnology and aquaculture practice. All of these can have far-reaching consequences on conservation of endangered species, assessment of anthropogenic and climatic impacts on aquatic species and application in aquaculture, as well as in fisheries management. In particular, it has been recognized that there are many highly diverting details in the practical application of these new methods used by most scientists and laboratories, which can cause highly variable if not contradicting results, even using the same species.

There is an urgent need towards a universal scale to assess both the precise state of sexual maturation (for secure broodstock use) and related life history traits (gamete quality assessment, incubation of eggs) in teleost fish and other commercially important invertebrates used in either bioassays or aquaculture.

The aim of the proposed AQUAGAMETE COST Action is to reach a consensus on protocols and guidelines (using internationally defined terminology, units of measurement and format of reporting) that permit the use of results in relational databanks for sound and common application in aquaculture research and commerce.