Effective methods of traceability are urgently required for use in research as well as in different types of aquaculture operations and to control trade in aquatic animals and products. In regard to the marking of fish, many different tagging methods have been described and the method to be used depends on the purpose and need for tagging. In contrast, for molluscs and crustaceans, only a few methods of marking such animals have been described, due to the practical difficulties.
The authors first describe the different methods for tracing fish and fishery products, by means of external tags, such as Floy tags, Carlin tags and passive integrated transponder tags; chemical marking using inorganic substances such as silver nitrate or potassium nitrate, pigments, oxytetracycline, etc.; and several different types of electronic devices in which basic information such as the strain of fish, farm of origin or weight can be stored. Genetic traceability using deoxyribonucleic acid profiling is developing quite rapidly for cultured brood stocks and wild populations. This technique may be used with very high degrees of confidence to assign to or exclude animals or products from their claimed origin, paternity or strain, and may be used as evidence in court proceedings.