Merck Animal Health Launches a New Fisheries Platform to Support Sustainable Food Production and Marine Conservation

DNA TRACEBACK® Fisheries platform supports sustainability helping to determine catch limits across multiple fish species  

MADISON, N.J., May 25, 2022 – Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway,  N.J., USA (NYSE:MRK), announced today the launch of the DNA TRACEBACK® Fisheries platform, a new DNA-based analytical tool which helps governments and fishery agencies to identify the sustainable yield of wild fish stocks and our customers to more accurately identify the total allowable catch for fishermen in their region.

The sustainability of oceans’ fisheries is vital for the conservation of marine ecosystems, global food security and nutrition of a growing population. In collaboration with the Uppsala University (Sweden), Merck Animal Health presents a real-world solution to address the global need for sustainable food production and marine conservation. By harnessing the precision of whole genome sequencing, the DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform provides policymakers and regulators with the tools they need to determine and monitor catch limits and quotas more effectively across a range of fish species including cod, herring, horse mackerel and sprat. Catch limits help reduce the chance of overfishing, which can deplete fish populations beyond the point of recovery and endanger ocean ecosystems, jeopardizing major food sources for billions of people worldwide.

“Thousands of particularly informative genetic markers have been selected for each species based on recent whole genome sequencing efforts and are now represented on the DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform,” says Dr. Leif Andersson, professor of functional genomics at Uppsala University. Fish species, or stocks, are assessed to examine the effects of fishing and other factors to determine their current and future statuses and ensure they are being managed responsibly. “These extraordinary advances in DNA sequence analysis offer great potential in fisheries management when they are made widely accessible and affordable.”

Illegal fishing is also a difficult-to-detect but key driver of overfishing, threatening marine ecosystems while also being linked to major human rights violations. With up to 1 in 5 fish sold coming from illegal fishing, the DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform also offers an important new tool in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing with a simple, cost-effective method to detect and deter, providing consumers with the confidence that the fish they buy are responsibly and sustainably sourced.

The DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform is currently being used in Irish waters to assess annual herring stocks and can be used to provide a standardized platform and common data framework for other species managed under the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy.

“Substantive progress in seafood sustainability can be achieved through this type of scientific innovation and collaboration. We are delighted to extend our activity into global marine fisheries,” said Kasha Cox, global aqua commercial leader, Merck Animal Health.

“Further innovation is expected and many more commercially important species, including major tuna species, could soon be incorporated into the DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform. The more fish species that are included, the more beneficial this technology becomes for its users – so we are excited by the opportunity to connect with researchers working in this space.”

For more information on the DNA TRACEBACK Fisheries platform, visit

About IdentiGEN Technology

IdentiGEN technology combines each species’ unique DNA and data analytics to provide an evidence-based animal traceability solution, called DNA TRACEBACKto accurately and precisely trace beef, pork, seafood and poultry that is verifiable from fork to farm. Our enhanced digital technology plays an increasingly important role in food traceability, providing customers with critical information to help ensure a sustainable supply of quality food. These solutions and technology are used by food processors and retailers to provide actionable data and insights that can be used to make decisions for improving or enhancing animal health, well-being and health outcomes. Through our expanded offerings, we are able to shape the future of animal health by leveraging our scientific and technical capabilities and expertise and providing comprehensive solutions to our customers.

About IdentiGEN

IdentiGEN is a leader in DNA-based traceability solutions used by food producers, processors and retailers to provide full accountability, as well as greater transparency, quality and sustainability of food sources for consumers through our unique combination of science, technology and insights-driven solutions. IdentiGEN is a Livestock and Aquaculture portfolio of digital products within Merck Animal Health. For more information, visit or connect with us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter.  

About Merck Animal Health

At Merck, known as Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA in the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than a century, we’ve been at the forefront of research, bringing forward medicines, vaccines and innovative health solutions for the world’s most challenging diseases. Merck Animal Health, a division of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, N.J., USA, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Through its commitment to The Science of Healthier Animals®, Merck Animal Health offers veterinarians, farmers, pet owners and governments one of the widest ranges of veterinary pharmaceuticals, vaccines and health management solutions and services as well as an extensive suite of connected technology that includes identification, traceability and monitoring products. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals and the people who care for them. It invests extensively in dynamic and comprehensive R&D resources and a modern, global supply chain. Merck Animal Health is present in more than 50 countries, while its products are available in some 150 markets. For more information, visit and connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.