Gary Carvalho, a member of ICES Working Group on Application of Genetics in Fisheries and Aquaculture (WGAGFA) and one of the course instructors, gives an overview of the topic and its importance.
While it is generally acknowledged that genomics can provide valuable support to the development and implementation of management and conservation strategies, the effective integration of genomic approaches into fisheries and aquaculture management is patchy, sometimes ineffectual, and underdeveloped. Our new course aims to narrow the science - policy divide by focusing on the need to render genomics more responsive and relevant to management needs, as supported by recent conceptual and technical advances and these will be placed within the context of salient policy frameworks.
Acquiring skills in the field of genomics and evolutionary thinking is increasingly important for both practical and strategic reasons. Practically, the application of genomics is especially amenable to high-throughput analysis, standardization of global databases, and increased cost-effectiveness, as well as integration with existing approaches in management, such as population and oceanographic modelling, demographic data, and use of tagging and satellite-based monitoring.
Strategically, the close association and interdependence of shifts in the abundance and distribution of aquatic resources (quantitative change) and genetic structure (qualitative change) means that core fisheries data such as population size, distribution of age classes, dispersal, and recruitment, will in many cases be population or stock-specific. Capturing such heterogeneity, and promoting linkages between existing management and biologically defined units, is central to our efforts in both predicting as well as conserving aquatic species and communities in the face of environmental change.
The course is designed primarily for those who do not have genetics/genomics as their main line of work; people with a keen interest in genomics but with little or no expertise in genomic theory or methodology, and limited experience of how and when to apply such principles and tools to management issues. Students, fisheries/aquaculture scientists, fisheries/aquaculture managers, and stakeholders involved in fisheries and aquaculture management and policy decision-making are all encouraged to participate.
The course takes place 26–28 June in Ispra, Italy, with five instructors. Read the course descrption and register online.