A unique New Zealand facility produces whitebait species which it sells commercially to fund restoration efforts. Of all the ways to hunt and fish, few are more quintessentially Kiwi than the act of gathering whitebait. In New Zealand, whitebait refers to the larval form of five Galaxiid species. These larval fish are caught as they return upstream from the ocean to continue growing and, eventually, to spawn. From August/September through the end of November, it’s rare to find a stream that flows into the ocean without someone standing watch over their whitebait net. To call it a popular Kiwi hobby is nearly an understatement. Across the country, however, recreational and commercial catches have been in decline. Of the five species one can catch, four are labelled by the New Zealand Department of Conservation as declining or threatened. This is due to a variety of factors including an increase in river and stream pollution from industry and farming, and the introduction of aggressively invasive plant and fish species. The decision of the government to continue to allow whitebait fishing has become a controversial decision across the country, with many calling for restrictions or a total ban of commercial harvesting. Hope for the future There is, however, hope for the whitebait species of New Zealand. Located an hour north of Auckland, in the small town of Warkworth, Manāki Whitebait (a.k.a. New Zealand Premium Whitebait) is New Zealand’s first, and only, whitebait farm. The term Manāki is a Te Reo word that means to support, cherish or take care of others. The name is fitting. Originally built as a restoration hatchery, a small, dedicated team led by Paul Decker, Managing Director of the Mahurangi Technical Institute, began by cultivating all five species of whitebait. The hatchery was constructed and initially funded using private donations. This model, however, is difficult to maintain in the long term. In the words of Decker, “we knew we can’t keep doing this, but we need to keep going.” They needed a new financial model. Commercial productionFortunately they discovered that one of the whitebait species, the Giant Kōkopu, was an ideal candidate for commercial production. The Kōkopus viability stems mainly from its breeding characteristics. Unlike some of the other whitebait species, which spawn only once after two years growth and then die, the Giant Kōkopu is capable of breeding year after year, with their oldest brood being 10 years old - this is nothing for a Giant Kōkopu, which can live for 30 years. The Giant Kōkopu also offers a higher rate of fecundity than other species and responds well to artificial rearing environments, growing from hatch to larval harvest in only 12 weeks. A new model was born: they were going to rear Giant Kōkopu commercially to generate income for their restoration work. This model was one that Kiwi investors could not resist. While all investors involved in the Giant Kōkopu commercial operation are Kiwis, of note is the heavy Māori interest. Whitebait is a culturally and historically important food for the Māori. Local and nearby Māori investment fund managers saw, in this model, the chance to profit while working to bolster wild Whitebait populations. This offers the benefit of allowing the long-standing cultural tradition of Whitebait collection to remain viable for future generations. Clean RAS productionWhile technologically speaking Manāki is not breaking new ground in RAS, the hatchery offers a shining example of conservation-oriented rearing practices. They have been able to achieve commercial production without the use of synthetic inputs, either in the form of treatments or spawning inducers. This is born of the desire to avoid introducing foreign contaminants into local waterways via their restoration releases, and to allow the fish destined for wild re-stocking to remain as hearty and self-sufficient as possible. The hatchery’s ability to avoid these inputs is due to its regimented cleaning routine. “Clean and green is what we say...we do more cleaning than probably most places in the world” says Decker. This commitment to clean production has allowed them to begin the process of organic certification, which Decker believes they will achieve without issue. They’ve also become the suppliers to educational institutions such as the National Aquarium which seek to source their display fish as sustainably as possible. Working business model As a means of generating funds for restoration work, Manākis business model is working. The hatchery is currently doing several releases each year, including one release of 10,000 fish in Tawharanui National Park planned for May of this year. As more releases are conducted, interest from schools and environmental organizations in using their Whitebait in restoration projects is increasing. Decker foresees this trend continuing in the future.The path to this point has not been without its challenges. Since it was the only Whitebait farm in the country, sourcing appropriate feed posed a problem. To rear efficiently, they had to switch from live to pelletized feed. Fortunately, their chief scientist, fish nutritionist Dr. Tagried Kurwie, was able to work with their feed producer to develop a Whitebait specific formulation, allowing them to achieve an FCR of 1.2:1. Culturing live feed for hatchlings, broods and stock earmarked for release still presents a challenge, as techs must learn the ins and outs of multiple culture techniques. Challenges overcome In the early days the team at Manāki was also having trouble with certain environmental cues causing their stock to change to a darker colour. In a discerning marketplace that demands translucent to light coloured Whitebait, this was troubling. However, the team was able to determine what was causing this transition, and they have been able to sort out these issues. Another great challenge has been keeping the saltwater system full. Being located about 5 km from the nearest saltwater, Manāki must regularly truck in salt water to keep the RAS system topped up. One release-stock specific challenge has been developing a procedure for “wildizing” the fish meant for release. In the weeks leading up to their release, none of the staff can let themselves be seen over the tank. This is so that in the wild these fish will not associate humans with feeding and will thus be as skittish and survival-oriented as their wild born counterparts. Like any well-built operation, Manāki was determined to overcome these challenges because, at the end of the day, staff knew they had something special to offer the discerning public. In the words of Paul Decker, “everyone says it’s the best product they’ve ever tasted.” This is, in part, because they’re able to purge the fish before harvest. Purging the ‘bait Purged Whitebait offers a cleaner, purer taste without any of the unpleasant grittiness one can find in wild Whitebait. They’re also able to kill their harvest instantly and maintain the cold chain to market. The lack of stress response and short turn-around time between harvest and sale means the fish end up being the best looking on the market. “You can see the freshness in them…they’re glistening,” says Decker. “They’re the sturgeon of the Pacific.” Having proven to the investors that this can work, Decker and his team are looking toward a bright future. They are currently assessing sites for a new, modern facility. This is an important next step because within the next couple of years they hope to be producing 50-100 tons per year. Barriers to export They are also working to remove barriers to increase exports. Currently, their product will occasionally be stopped during export because Whitebait is flagged as an endangered species. The team at Manāki is focused on ensuring these holdups are avoided. They’re also hoping to increase international recognition of the delicious, high quality nature of their New Zealand Whitebait. In many other national markets, Whitebait is used a generic term for low quality white fish. Naming the company’s Whitebait Manāki is, in part, to help differentiate it, an approach comparable to that of the Malepeque Oyster growers. With the lessons of the past in their back pocket and the vision of a new facility in their eyes, Decker and the team at Manāki Whitebait will continue to change the Whitebait market for the better.
Chinquihue Foundation is the only facility producing mussel seed in Chile, and it comes with a socially oriented goal: to help low-income fishermen and mussel farmers make a living wage. Chinquihue Foundation, a Chilean non-profit NGO founded in 1989 with support from the Chilean Government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has operated a hatchery in Puerto Montt since 1996. Its aim is to produce seeds and seedlings from different resources and thus promote small-scale aquaculture, helping artisanal fishermen become farmers. Located along the coastline in Chincui Bay -12km south of Puerto Montt - this production unit specializes in benthic invertebrates as well as microalgae and macroalgae. In the beginning it was focused on Northern scallop (Argopecten purpuratus) and Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), but many other species have also been reared here over the past two decades. This includes such species as red abalone (Haliotis rufescens), green abalone (Haliotis discus hannai), Chilean sea urchin (Loxechinus albus), clam (Venus antiqua), Pacific clam (Gari solida), Sea asparagus (Ensis macha), Chilean abalone (Concholepas concholepas), Chilean mussel (Mytilus chilensis), Magellan mussel (Aulacomya ater), Choro mussel (Choromytilus chorus), Gracilaria seaweed (Gracilaria spp.) and Giantkelp (Macrocystis spp.). Currently, there are only mussels in the facility along with the auxiliary cultivation of microalgae to feed those mussels. These are primarily diatomeous and flagellates such as Isochrysis galbana, Nannochloris atomus, Tetraselmis suecica, Chaetoceros calcitrans and Chaetoceros neogracilis. Pilot level facility The hatchery operates at pilot level and is located beside the port terminal belonging to Chinquihue Foundation. It is composed of two laboratories, one of 300m2 intended for mollusks and echinoderms and another one of 150m2 for macro-algae. There is also a 315m2 greenhouse for mollusks and echinoderms within these premises. All rooms have the proper equipment and infrastructure systems required for seawater adduction, aeration, heating and thermal isolation. The facility includes 10 large farming tanks (three of 3,000 liters and seven of 2,500 liters) combined with 100 tanks of 200 liters each. There are three types of mechanical filters: Prefilters are at the seawater suction pump and in hoses that bring water into the facility. Then, once in accumulation tanks, water is depurated in bag filters and finally passed through a UV system. Regarding staff size, there were up to 12 workers in this hatchery during the original five-year project funded by JICA. However, this number has been reduced to just five now, who are exclusively employed to work with mussel species. “In terms of installed capacity, we could produce batches of 30 million pre-metamorphic larvae every two months,” says Viviana Videla, manager of this hatchery. Chilean mussels Although there are three different mussel species native to Chile (Magellan mussel, Choro mussel and Chilean mussel), only the last one is of large commercial interest and represents 100% of the farmed animals and products exported by the local mussel sector. With harvest volumes that range between 270,000 and 290,000 tonnes per year, this is the second largest aquaculture industry in Chile, with about 70,000 exported tonnes and US$ 200 million in revenues annually. In geographical terms, this is an industry that operates exclusively in the region of Los Lagos, providing about 17,000 workplaces in the area. Viviana Videla noted that the Chilean mussel is a native species which has a good range of tolerance to changes in temperature, drying and salinity. “It is quite a pliable and resistant species,” she said, adding that this is a blue mussel, very similar to the Galician mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) in terms of size, meat color, texture, flavor, etc. In the wild, this species fertilizes its spat in natural beds, floating within the plankton until they attach themselves to a solid substrate to grow. The production cycle of this bivalve lasts for about 21 months from spat to harvest. Operation and objectives This facility’s operation is mainly oriented to detection and identification of Chilean mussel larvae in plankton using epiflourescence microscopy. This is intended to generate useful information for small farmers dedicated to mussel seed collection. “If we inform them that there is natural spawning in a specific area, they can place collectors and catch seed. Before, they planned this process in connection with certain dates or season,” Videla explained. In addition, the hatchery has been working on the production of mussel seeds and developing technologies to farm mussels in land-based facilities. “This is technologically feasible,” she added, “but we need to develop and refine our model, since production costs are still a problem. It is difficult to compete with the costs of seed collection in the wild. The challenge is to produce at competitive costs or to change the paradigm, producing adults instead of just seeds and reducing the number of production stages, for example, and thereby cutting costs.” Start with the breeders Mussel seed production starts with the selection of breeders, usually from farming sites; then comes the conditioning of breeding animals, aimed at achieving the maturation of the gonad. Once breeders mature, they are induced (with temperature and UV irradiation) to expel gametes. A process of cleaning and selection of embryos is performed after fertilization. This lasts for two days and leads to the first larval stage, straight-hinge veliger, commonly known as 'D larva', because of its shape like the capital letter D. This animal is about 80 microns long and continues growing until after about seven days (depending on the temperature) it enters the umbonate larvae stage, at which point the hinge is no longer straight but rounded, which is commonly known as 'umbonate larva'. This stage lasts for 10-12 more days. When the statocyst becomes visible, it is the first sign that larva (also called ‘eyed larva’) are close to settling, metamorphosing, and fixing through the byssus. Then, the 'foot' appears and starts walking, adheres to a substrate, loses the cilia and stops swimming. At this point it generates the byssus and, when the mollusk is fixed to a substrate, its shell begins to calcify and take color. This stage is usually known as 'post larva'. “When the mussel reaches 10mm long we call it seed, although it is a juvenile, which continues to grow until it becomes an adult (˜7cm). In this species, the first sexual maturity (with functional gonad) occurs when the specimen reaches about 3.5 cm in height,” Videla explained. Hatchery advantages She also described some advantages of producing seed in a hatchery: Specifically she noted that mussel seeds can be produced at any time of the year and makes it possible to select breeders according to desired phenotypic characteristics, for example, growth rate or faster detoxification of toxins such as PSP. Another advantage was de-seasonalizing production in order to maintain processing plants in operation more months every year. Most of the species reared in this facility over the past 21 years were investigated and produced through governmental-funded projects. “In general, if the seed market does not exist and the production of adults is not massive, once the project is finished you do not have enough funds to continue. Although our hatchery is not so small, it is not of commercial scale either. It is intended for research at pilot level. Therefore, production is always more oriented to applied research,” she said.
Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii peelii), with its densely marbled flesh, has a strong following among Chinese and Vietnamese communities and a long-standing reputation at the top end of the seafood market.
Dunkeld Trout Hatcheries leverages its location in South Africa to supply off-season demand from the other side of the equator.
Justin Henry thinks he’s got some pretty good fish eggs for sale. Northern Divine Aquafarms produces certified organic, fertilized, female monosex, coho salmon eggs. “I think we are the only company in the world doing this,” says Henry, the General Manager of Northern Divine, based in Sechelt, just north of Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada.
Red sea bream (Pagrus major) has been eaten in Japan for at least 5,000 years. It's featured prominently in festive occasions because the Japanese word for the species, madai, sounds like medetai, meaning auspicious or joyous. It's also an important species for Japan's commercial aquaculture sector. Its fast growth rate and ability to spawn naturally in captivity makes it economically advantageous and particularly attractive.
The Beluga sturgeon (Huso huso Linnaeus, 1758) has a decreasing population trend and is classified as critically endangered in the Black- and Azov seas, and regionally extinct in the Adriatic Sea. It is extirpated from the upper parts of almost all the European spawning rivers (e.g. Danube, Dniester, Dnieper, Don, Kuban, Terek and Volga) mainly because of overfishing and dams that block migration routes.
Sunland Hatchery is set in idyllic surroundings near Lake Cootharaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. The hatchery (established in the ‘70s) spawned Australian native species and raised them for private and public stockings, and once was the country’s largest producer of Australian bass (Macquaria novemaculeata).
‘Río Pescado’ (River Fish, in Spanish) is one of the oldest hatcheries in Chile and the first to operate in the region of Los Lagos, in the heart of the local salmon industry.
“Our original stock was created by making crosses between many different types of regional African catfish strains which we gathered from all over Africa,” says Fleuren and Nooijen co-owner, Bert-Jan Roosendaal.
Mysis diluviana, a non-native species, was introduced into Okanagan Lake in British Columbia during the early 1960s in hopes that it would help support a dwindling Kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon) sport fishery.
High among the Andean mountains of Peru, at 3100m (10,230 ft), in the cordillera popular with visiting mountaineers and hikers, is the small village of San Bartolommeo de Acopalca. It has a population of about 225 families.
Soy peptides (SP) can be used to enhance the immune response and survival of juvenile Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) under heat stress, according to a recent study. SP, a soy protein enzymatic hydrolysate, contains bioactive substances that could be utilized as an immune-stimulating feed ingredient. “Feed companies would greatly benefit from the study, as SP may now be a new ingredient source. Fish farmers may also exploit the potential of SP for increasing the defined function of cultured fish, especially in the context of climate change,” one of the authors, Janice Ragaza, told Hatchery International. Ragaza is an associate professor at the Department of Biology, Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. At the time of the study, she was still doing her doctorate studies on Fisheries Science at the Laboratory of Animal Aquatic Nutrition, Faculty of Fisheries, Kagoshima University in Japan. In the study, diet inclusions with zero, two, five and 10% SP were fed to juvenile flounder. “If the objective is for maximum growth, then the inclusion levels should be greater than 10% SP. If the objective is for thermotolerance, 10% SP is the optimum,” she said. After a feeding trials, the experimental groups were subjected to heat stress to measure survival rate and heat shock protein 70s (HSP70s) in gill, liver and skin. A significant reduction in HSP70s was observed among all groups during recovery period. “HSP70s usually show up when the organism experiences heat stress. The reduction in number over time means that the organism is reaching its equilibrium (i.e. normal, pre-stress) condition,” she said. She compared HSP70s to cooling fans inside laptops. “Like cooling fans, HSP70s bring the fish under heat stress, e.g. increase in water temperature, to stable conditions. With more HSP70s in the tissues, the fish is therefore more stable amid the stress exposure.”                                                                                         
Dominated by the Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei), India's shrimp sector is growing and becoming extremely dynamic. Healthy, high quality seed is key to its success, but the increasing intensification and commercialization of shrimp aquaculture to meet demand has exacerbated disease epizootics. Reports from hatcheries of mass larvae mortalities at the Zoea-2 stage prompted Dr. T. Sathish Kumar at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Central Institute of Brackishwater Aquaculture in Chennai to investigate further. " P. vannamei and Litopenaeus stylirostris species appear to be infected," said Dr. Kumar. "They appear normal until they cross the Zoea-1 stage. Then they suddenly stop feeding after 36 - 48 hours and systemic abnormalities are observed, such as anorexia, lethargy, empty gut, reduction in feeding and absence of faecal strands, followed by delayed moulting of up to 3-4 days and gradual, progressive mortality in 30 - 90% of the larval population." The impacts on hatcheries are significant. Losses from Zoea-2 syndrome in an Indian commercial hatchery with a stocking capacity of 100 million nauplii are estimated at around $18 - 61,000 USD. Establishing strict management practices, reducing the number of days of stocking nauplii to less than 3 - 4 days in the same unit, disinfecting everything including implements and air pipes, creating shutdown periods between larval production cycles, and physically separating units for maturation, spawning and larval rearing could all help reduce mortalities. "My work reinforces the adoption and implementation of best management practices in hatcheries," said Dr. Kumar. "It has shown that Zoea-2 syndrome isn't caused by known infectious agents. Other pre-disposing factors could be a lack of separate larval rearing units, and shrimp hatcheries must invest in improved biosecurity to prevent losses and sustained continued larval production." Dr. Kumar suggests that an integrative multidimensional investigation, involving physiological factors within zoea and microbial dynamics in hatcheries may help to understand the causes of digestive system impairment in shrimp and the role of opportunistic pathogens.
One hundred and 200-gram salmon smolt grew more quickly when put into seawater for grow-out compared to 600-gram fish. This was part of the results of a study conducted by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) which compared performance in terms of growth, survival, health, maturation of salmon produced by using different production protocols in RAS. “We do not know the reason for the reduced growth during summer in the fish transferred at 600 grams. The trend was the same in all 600 grams-transferred fish, irrespective of photoperiod or salinity in RAS. We are, at the moment, doing analysis of fish composition to see if we can find an explanation,” Nofima scientist Trine Ytrestøyl told Hatchery International. Cost implications Ytrestøyl presented the study at the Aquaculture Innovation Workshop (AIW) 2017 in November in Vancouver. “Since the presentation at AIW, we have done the final sampling, and the 600-gram fish grew very well during the final two months in the sea from September to end of November. But despite their catch-up growth, they were still smaller than the 100 and 200 grams- transferred fish at slaughter in late November,” she said. Cost implications are not covered by the project, she said, because it is very dependent on the sea lice situation. “If this is taken into account, it may be more economical to use the larger post-smolt of 600 grams even if it grows a little slower in the seawater phase,” she said. The larger fish, she explained, can reduce grow-out time in open sea cage by 2.5 months, which saves one to two delousing operations, compared to stocking with 100- and 200-gram fish. There are also health benefits, she added, because delousing is tough on the fish and leads both to reduced growth and some mortality. It is a common procedure these days to produce salmon smolt to a bigger size before they are put in seawater for grow-out. Seawater tolerant salmon “Some believe that a larger size makes the fish better able to cope with sweater because they have a smaller surface/volume ratio compared to smaller fish. Thus it should be less energy-demanding for them to regulate their ion levels in seawater. In seawater, water has a higher osmolarity than the fish, so ions will diffuse into the fish, which has to spend energy to get rid of ions to keep its osmotic balance,” she said. The traditional way produces 70- to 100-gram smolts. There has been an increase in smolt size up to 200 to 500 grams because it cuts production time in open sea cages, a procedure seen as critical in avoiding problems with salmon lice and other diseases. “We wanted to test if it was possible to produce a seawater-tolerant salmon without using a winter signal with short day for six weeks, and also how larger fish (600 grams) would perform compared to smaller fish (200 grams) at transfer. We used brackish water at 12 ppt in some treatments in RAS to see if this would improve growth and seawater tolerance and performance after seawater transfer,” she said of the study. Natural way In nature, Atlantic salmon go through a smoltification process to prepare them for life in seawater and this physiological change is induced by the dark winter. In aquaculture, however, smoltification has been induced by giving the small salmon juveniles, called parr, a period of short days of six weeks with-12 hour light and 12-hour darkness, followed by a minimum period of four weeks with 24-hour daylight. “This is sufficient to trigger the transformation from a freshwater adapted parr to a seawater adapted smolt,” she said. “In RAS, growers want to have optimal growth, and be able to feed the fish 24 hour, so they would like to produce a fish that can go to seawater without having a period with 12:12 light/darkness; the salmon is not fed in darkness.”
Norwegian research has shown that some salmon families have higher levels of healthy fatty acids in their muscle tissue than others. From cancer prevention to promoting infant health and development and inhibiting cardio vascular disease, essential Omega 3 fatty acids have proven to be nutrient behemoths in human health, and researchers in Norway believe they can raise salmon bred to be teaming with the essential fatty acids. However, over the last decade the level of these fatty acids in farmed salmon fillets has decreased owing to the substitution of fish oil with vegetable oil in the fish feed. Fortunately, salmon have the capacity to convert fatty acids from plants into EPA and DHA, according to researchers at Norwegian breeding and genetics giant Nofima AS. While feed is the largest factor determining the level of EPA and DHA in the fillet, there is evidence that genetics also plays a role. Previous research has shown that some salmon families have higher levels of the healthy fatty acids in their muscle tissue than others, suggesting there is potential in using selective breeding as a tool to increase levels of omega-3 in Atlantic salmon muscle. “Our research has shown that the individual omega-3 fatty acids have different heritability, as well as different correlations to other important production traits,” said Siri Storteig Horn, a PhD researcher at Nofima conducting the research. “All the major fatty acids in the muscle showed a certain degree of heritability. DHA was the omega-3 fatty acid with the highest heritability (0.26), proving to be the best trait for selection. EPA had a low heritability (0.09).” Horn said that they’ve estimated the heritability of individual omega-3 fatty acids and their relationships to lipid deposition traits and other traits of the breeding goals (carcass, quality and disease). “This is key to predicting the consequences of selection for higher levels of healthy omega-3, and is important information for breeders if they want to implement selection for this trait,” she added. Gene identity Currently Horn is working on identifying the genes associated with increased omega-3 content in salmon muscle. “This will increase the understanding of the biological processes underlying the trait, as well as improve selection accuracy by allowing marker-based selection,” she said. Should this prove viable, salmon breeders can implement marker-based selection for healthy omega-3 and produce a salmon with higher nutritional value to consumers. Ultimately, Nofima wants to see if it is possible to increase the salmon’s natural capacity to convert short-chained omega-3 form plant oil into EPA and DHA through selective breeding, and in this way stop the decline in omega-3 levels in farmed salmon fillets. To achieve this, they’re aiming at increasing the understanding of which biological processes are determining the level of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in salmon muscle. Horn said breeding and genetics is at the very foundation of successful salmon farming and will continue to meet future challenges facing the industry.
Already a gourmet staple in Portugal and Spain, where wild-caught soft-necked gooseneck barnacles fetch up to $90 a pound, interest in culturing this novel species has begun to grow on the west coast of North America. Based on the high demand and profit of this fishery overseas and rumblings of interest in North America as well, a professor at the University of Oregon, Dr. Alan Shanks, decided to investigate the feasibility of a commercial U.S. market and what that might look like for the Oregon coast. As a relatively new species of interest, state regulations are still evolving. Currently Oregon regulations limit wild harvest of the barnacles to 50 individuals of any size on man-made structures like rock jetties. Nearby Washington state limits recreational harvest to a daily limit of 10 pounds whole or 5 pounds barnacle stalks. Preliminary investigation The investigation is a forward-thinking project by Shanks and a handful of research assistants at the University. They have three main goals: • First: take an estimate of current inventory of harvestable-sized Pollicipes polymerus, the species found in the intertidal zone on America’s west coast. • Second, explore possible mariculture development for onshore commercial production. • And thirdly, work with local seafood collectives, the public and state resource managers to build a partnership for a sustainable market. The project strives for multistakeholder collaboration to help protect and manage this growing market and avoid depleting the stocks by overfishing, which has already happened in Spain. There are some obvious hurdles to overcome for this market to be successful, like convincing a timid American seafood palate to try something new, especially when the “new” is an oddly shaped, rubbery crustacean found clinging to rocks in the crashing surf of the intertidal zone. “We like to use the name “percebes” (Spanish for barnacle) or “devil’s fingers”…. it sounds more exotic and palatable than “barnacle”, explains Dr. Alan Shanks. Also the current stocks of harvestable-sized adults pose a limitation to large-scale harvest in Oregon. Alan’s research assistants found only a small amount (2.3%) of the jetty populations to be of commercial interest and depending on fishing pressures could be wiped out within a year. Because of their slow growth rate, unique recruitment of larvae, and collectors having to take the whole clump of barnacles which include many tiny individuals, it could a long time to recover the stocks in those areas. The mariculture alternative Mariculture of these prized crustaceans seems like a good alternative to wild harvest, but has proven elusive so far. Alexa Romersa, a grad student working on the aquaculture end of the project at the University of Oregon understands the obstacles well …. “Rearing the barnacle larvae in a lab setting is notoriously difficult and you often end up with varying quality of the juvenile cohort. Larval rearing also lengthens the process because transition from nauplius to cyprid to juvenile can take between 40 and 60 days.” It was also thought that the developing barnacles needed high water flow (which can be costly to provide) to mimic crashing waves of its environment in order to feed. But an interesting observation in a fish aquarium at the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology (OIMB) lead Dr. Shanks to make an important discovery for the barnacle’s future in mariculture: “I saw a cluster of gooseneck barnacles attached to the wall of the aquarium, directly above the air bubbler. There was no high-water flow in this area of the tank….yet it appeared the barnacles were thriving near the air bubbles.” His observation led to the design of a low-flow, aerated mariculture design used in his lab set-up, along with other improvements for efficiency. Alexa detailed the experimental aquaculture set-up in her lab: “We work exclusively with wild caught adults and juveniles that I harvest off rocks in the intertidal. Individuals are glued onto a vertical rod placed inside a PVC tubing tank. Each tank has a water and air inflow near the base and air is connected to a coil of diffuser tubing that provides constant aeration for the barnacles.” “The aeration tubing (the type commonly used in gardening) is the major discovery of this phase of the experiment. Previous efforts at studying growth in gooseneck barnacles in the lab have attempted to mimic natural intertidal conditions by providing high volume water flow in order to trigger the specialized feeding behavior of pollicipes polymerus. However, I have been able to prompt the same behavior with air bubbles helped along by gravity. Air is cheaper and more easily scaled to a commercial operation.” Shank’s team has also found that they can stimulate good natural recruitment of larvae in the lab by piping in unfiltered, natural seawater containing barnacle cyprid (active swimming larvae) that then settle on existing adults and increase their stock numbers. Diet and yield The barnacles have been fed two diets: rotifers, a zooplankton that is bio-enhanced with micronutrients and vitamins, and an emulsified fish blend collected from the local fish processing plant. The viscera is dehydrated, then ground into a powder and re-suspended in solution for easy feeding. The research team received a “Seed” grant from Oregon Sea Grant to cover start-up cost of the operation (building the aquaculture set-up, buying and feeding rotifers, etc).  In terms of cost, Alexa estimates the entire operation cost about $1000 dollars to set up. The research lab is small by aquaculture standards- using about 200 gallons of seawater per day and 20psi for air. But she expects a similar sized commercial operation could successfully culture between 1000 and 2000 barnacles that would grow from juvenile to commercial size in less than a year with feeding twice daily, even faster if fed continuously. In terms of yield she estimates that a single large barnacle would weigh in at 5g, so 200 barnacles would fetch around $160-$180 US dollars with current prices, so there is a good return on investment. The barnacle’s unique form of recruitment with larvae preferring to settle on other adult gooseneck barnacles also makes this species ideal for aquaculture since wild harvesting takes the whole colony of barnacles at once, not just adults, and would deplenish future juvenile populations quickly. Convincing the American market So with many of the hurdles of mariculture being addressed, that just leaves convincing the average US consumer to take the plunge. Currently the Port Orford Ocean Resources Team is interested in selling the barnacles in their farmers’ basket, similar to the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm boxes. “We don’t yet know all the nutritional facts for this tasty little creature”, says Shanks, but with the growing interest and profit potential, he is eager to look at that next. He’s working on acquiring a third research grant from Sea Grant, called the “Leaf” grant, to examine the fatty acid content of this salty little snack.
Two herbal bio-extracts, known to enhance the immunity system of humans, have been found to have the same effect on Nile tilapia fingerlings.
The European Percid Fish Culture (EPFC) group is a thematic working group within the European Aquaculture Society (EAS) that has, for the first time, organized a hands-on workshop focusing on the out-of-season reproduction of pikeperch (Sander lucioperca).
Lobster larvae and turbot juveniles exposed to direct application of ozone exhibited higher survival rate, reiterating the benefits of the treatment.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has awarded scientists at Oregon State University two aquaculture grants, one that will help hatcheries feed certain marine fish more efficiently and the other intended to make oysters safer to eat.
Soy peptides (SP) can be used to enhance the immune response and survival of juvenile Japanese flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus) under heat stress, according to a recent study.
University of Maine assistant professor of marine biology and aquaculture Dr Heather Hamlin has been studying why the survival rate of salmon eggs in hatcheries has declined by as much as 50% in the last 18 years. And now Hamlin and Ph.D. candidate LeeAnne Thayer may have gone some distance to solving the problem.
Wild Chinook salmon play a significant role in commercial, recreational and First Nations wild harvests in western Canada. These harvests, however, have been decreasing due to warming waters and shifting population ranges - both results of climate change. Since the 1990s, declines in Pacific salmon populations have led to a reduction the total value of the commercial catch in BC from $263M to $24M.
At Northern Divine Aquafarms, we first used RAS to grow salmon smolts in1998. This was before the term “RAS” was coined and we just called it “recirc”. We soon realized that this technology allowed us to produce smolts six months earlier and three times as big when compared to our flow-through system. I remember thinking “why would you grow fish in anything else?” Lots of people had the same idea which led some to start growing fish right through to harvest in RAS. Early days, early challenges It was 17 years ago that we started to harvest our first RAS-grown sturgeon for meat. Today, the sturgeon, caviar and coho salmon grown at Northern Divine have the cleanest taste possible at harvest; however, that is not how it started 17 years ago. Farmers growing fish such as catfish in ponds have been battling this problem for years, though many others who grow fish in net pens or flow-through systems have, for the most part, not historically encountered this challenge. When RAS came along there were initially no problems with off-flavour since most of the production was for smolts which no one was eating. As farmers realized the benefits of growing fish in RAS, they started to experiment with growing several species to market size. Unfortunately, in many instances, the market knew there was a problem before the farmer. One of our first harvests of sturgeon for meat went to a banquet at an aquaculture conference 15 years ago. Various types of seafood were served at different stations throughout the venue. The first sturgeon that came out was delicious; this was the first time that many people had ever tried sturgeon. An hour or so later, they refreshed the platter with meat from the next fish they cut. And oh oh. This one had a slight muddy off-flavour. I didn’t know why it tasted that way, but we quickly realized that we needed to find a fix. Nature of the problem? A muddy off-flavour in fish is bad for business, and fish coming out of many RAS have off-flavour. The amount of off-flavour will vary with the system, water quality parameters, species and size of fish, and even individual variations. Wild fish from certain lakes and rivers also have this off-flavour. Consumers don’t want to eat fish with that flavour and they won’t likely buy it a second time. An even bigger problem is that they may stop buying that genre of fish altogether. What is the cause? Compounds causing off-flavour in the water also get into the fish. The main compounds are the naturally produced organic chemicals geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol (MIB). These compounds are produced by certain bacteria (cyanobacteria and actinomycete). If you want to read all of the gory details, check out the excellent summary by Davidson et al in Aquaculture Engineering 61 (2014) 27-34 or other published papers from the Freshwater Institute. By design, recirculating aquaculture systems grow plenty of bacteria. The systems need nitrifying bacteria; thus, biofilters are designed to optimize surface area and living conditions for bacteria. The bacteria which produce geosmin and MIB also live there and the off-flavour causing compounds enter the fish via the gills and then accumulate in the fat. The fattier the fish, the worse it will be. The more geosmin and MIB in your system, the worse it will be.Solving the problem There is only one solution and it is very simple - depurate, purge. (But let’s not call it that anymore for the sake of our customers). Let’s call it “conditioning” or “finishing” which sounds a little more delicious and safe. Whatever you call it, it requires taking your fish out of the RAS and putting them either on flow-through water or onto another water source that does not contain off-flavour compounds. Many methods don’t work. We can’t just kill all the bacteria in a RAS because, as we discussed, we actually need some of those bacteria. There has been research on ozonating the culture water which has not been successful. Nam-Koong et al Aquacultural Engineering 70 (2016) 73–80 demonstrated that treating the water with ultrasound will remove off-flavour compounds from RAS, but the energy required would not be economical. For now, farmers have to transfer the fish into a “finishing” system. But for how long? That depends on many factors including the level of geosmin and MIB in the culture water, the species, size, and lipid content of the fish, the water temperature, etc. You can read reports that suggest anything from less than one day up to three weeks of conditioning. To finish caviar takes longer . . . way longer. When I attend trade shows where caviar companies have their booths I go from one booth to the next sampling their caviar. “How does it taste?” they ask. “Like mud,” . . . I think. The next booth, “like dirt”. The next booth, “like earth”. Wow. How can you grow a fish for so long and then harvest it with an off-flavour? Basically, producers have to condition their fish until they can’t taste off-flavours anymore and that will be different at every farm, varying with every variable. And there will also be variability from fish to fish, so don’t limit taste tests to just one fish. Terry Brooks, of Golden Eagle Aquaculture in British Columbia, Canada has the process down to a science. He conditions the fish in two stages where he first reduces the levels of geosmin and MIB in the RAS for a period of time, and then moves them to a new flow-through tank for a very short period of time. By tasting his RAS-grown coho salmon, you could never tell if they were from the wild, from a saltwater net pen, or from his RAS farm in Canada. “If people get a hint of off-flavour, you’re done,” he says. So, why is there still a problem? Some farmers still send off-flavoured fish to market. …Please stop. It’s bad for business. For all of us. But why does this still happen? There are a number of reasons: some newcomers to the industry have not read the literature; sometimes it takes longer to get rid of off-flavours than the literature indicates; or some farmers have just received bad advice. How do you know that off-flavour is gone? There is one way and it is very easy: taste it. Taste a few fish. Taste them often. Get good at identifying even the tiniest hint of off-flavour. And then sometimes you have to make the difficult choice to delay harvest. I know that sucks, but ignoring it is probably the main reason that off-flavoured fish still ends up in the market. Delaying means delayed cash flow, change of processing schedule, maybe sending the harvesters or processors home, and telling your customer that they are not getting any fish that day. If you send the fish anyway, before they have clean flavour, then you are killing your business, and harming the rest of the RAS farmers. Justin Henry is the former general manager of Northern Divine Aquafarms, a sturgeon and salmon RAS in British Columbia, Canada. He now heads up Henry Aquaculture Consult Inc, an international advisory and consulting service for the aquaculture industry.   He can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Findings of infectious salmon anemia (ISAv) virus at two land-based salmon facilities in Nova Scotia, Canada has forced the culling of over 600,000 smolts in those farms.The virus was detected in February after the fish-farm operators reported a concern to veterinarians who then conducted testing, according to a statement issued by the province.Nova Scotia's Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Keith Colwell, told CBC on Thursday the facilities are located close to each other, but one company suffered an almost complete loss while the other lost only a portion of its stock.Colwell said it’s highly unusual to have an outbreak of ISAv at a land-based facility. His department will be investigating how the smolts became infected.Colwell did not name the farms or their location. But an owner of one of Nova Scotia’s land-based fish farms suspected that the outbreak must be at land-based hatcheries that produce smolts for companies that grow them to market size in net pens, not one of the two facilities in the province that raise salmon to market size in land-based operations. “There’s two (land-based) farms in Nova Scotia that are (raising salmon to market size) and we’ve never seen (infectious salmon anemia) or had any problems with that,” the fish farmer, Paul Merlin, told The Chronicle Herald.According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), ISAv outbreaks are most common in susceptible farmed finfish reared in sea water. It added that there's no evidence the virus can be transmitted to humans.
Illegal fishing of one of Mexico’s best recognized fish, triggered in no small part by Chinese demand for maws (swim bladders), has sent the iconic totoaba to the edge of extinction in that region.
The Great American Aquaculture (GAA) company in Waterbury, Connecticut is finishing off initial development of what it claims will be one of the largest recirculating-saltwater aquaculture facilities in the northeast United States.
A group of private investors recently commissioned the Varvarynsky Fish Farming facility in Azerbaijan, reportedly the largest hatchery in the country, designed for rearing up to 50 million sturgeon fry per year.
The Canadian division of the world’s largest salmon producer will soon have spent more than $40 million to build seven recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) at its land-based freshwater hatcheries near Sayward, British Columbia in western Canada.
The survival rate of walleye larvae in RAS increases when micro-diffusers and oil absorbent socks are used, according to a study by Laramée et al, Development of techniques to promote gas bladder inflation of walleye (Sander vitreus) larvae in intensive recirculating aquaculture system.
Recirculating aquaculture systems (RASs) are evolving towards even higher levels of water recycling and water efficiency. This was the message presented by Dr. Dallas Weaver from Scientific Hatcheries, Huntington Beach, California, at the Recirculating Aquaculture Conference held last August in Roanoke, Virginia.   Weaver and his colleagues Mark Francis and Jimmy Williamson from Aquaneering, Inc. San Diego, California; and Conal True from Universitad Autónomia de Baja California, Ensenada, Mexico, have designed, built, tested and installed a denitrification system geared to service multiple RAS systems while maintaining biosecurity between them.
You don’t have to be Einstein to realize that hatchery production underwrites aquaculture. Without reliable sources of seedstock, the supply chain of aquaculture products would have more gaps than a politician’s promise.
The snapping shrimp, aka pistol shrimp, can literally shoot its prey. Using a plunger on its enormous claw, it can shoot water at 70mph/115kpm. This water velocity creates a vacuum pressure pocket that takes gas out of solution, and expands it rapidly. The resulting explosion of gas bubble generates light, sound (210 dB), and shockwaves that can kill or stun its prey.
The development of a new salmon egg production facility in Norway has been unveiled by SalmoBreed and Salten Stamfisk, committing the two companies to the joint-venture creation of a 100 million ova-a-year unit, set for first-phase completion by autumn 2017.
The Norwegian firm of Niri recently announced the establishment of a large land-based salmon RAS in Scotland.
The Philippines’ perennial shortage of milkfish fry may find its resolution in the National Broodstock Development Program (NBDP), an initiative of the Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources through the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute (NFRDI).“A broodstock development program is considered one of the limiting factors faced by many industry stakeholders. This may be addressed with the help of the government by establishing a broodstock development facility which will cater to the needs of interested stakeholders for their broodstock requirements by operating a breeding and hatchery facility,” Francisco Santos, OIC-Chief at the Aquaculture R&D Division of the NFRDI, told Hatchery International.“With the increased number of hatcheries operating in the locality, producing and obtaining juveniles for aquaculture use is seen to have greater feasibility and economic viability,” Santos said.NBDP, which has been approved but not yet signed, covers the stock inventory of existing breeders, hatchery facilities and manpower, selection and upgrading of broodstock, development of breeders, screening and identification of program recipients, upgrading of knowledge and skills through training and technical staff.“While milkfish is important, its production has been hindered by various problems. Among the most critical of these is the limited supply of fry,” he said.Based on 2015 figures, the milkfish requirements of the Philippines was estimated at 2.5 billion fry. Private and government hatcheries supplied only one billion. The rest were either imported, mostly from Indonesia, or were wild fry.
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) is a nonprofit organization established by the United States’ Congress in the 2014 Farm Bill. Remarkably for these times, there was bipartisan congressional support for the organization and the activities it supports, which include aquaculture.
As the arms race to develop more efficient and effective live feeds for hatchery applications continues Norway’s Planktonic AS has developed a unique approach which they say could be a game-changer for the industry.
Searching for better ways to preserve sperm from southern flounder, particularly wild sourced, researchers in the United States found that vitrification of flounder sperm can successfully be used to fertilize female eggs.
Larval nutrition is a complex part of the aquaculture industry, especially if one thinks of shrimp or marine fish nutrition.
A fish or shellfish hatchery uses many different fluids: Oxygen, air, fuel, water and more. Pumping or delivering these fluids through pipes, hoses, tanks and treatment systems provide a myriad of opportunity for leaks to develop and for costs to climb.
At the Conference on Recirculating Aquaculture held last August in Roanoke, Virginia, Nick King of the Fish Vet Group in Portland, Maine presented a plea for better fish health management in marine hatcheries.
A serious problem may be emerging for fish hatcheries in the United States, according to Al Barney, hatchery manager with the Nisqually Tribal Hatchery in Olympia, Washington. It’s due to increasingly restrictive regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the chemicals that may be used to treat water for fish farming.
Sir Sandford Fleming School of Natural Resource Sciences in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada is home to the Lake Simcoe Muskellunge Restoration Project’s muskellunge hatchery. Here, nestled in rural Ontario, hatchery technician Mark Newell has pioneered the techniques to successfully raise this challenging species in a hatchery setting.
Mainstream Aquaculture has been at the forefront of innovation in the modern aquaculture industry. Focussing on barramundi (Lates calcarifer), the Australian company has become the world’s largest supplier of seedstock, and now exports to 21 countries.
The cultivation of high quality, highly priced fish such as pike-perch (Sander lucioperca) is gaining more interest. Nevertheless, the goal of sustainability is only reached if their life cycle is successfully completed under culture conditions, including reproduction and larviculture.
Any sushi lover will tell you that salmon and rice are an ideal combination.….
California salmon hatchery managers likely gave a well deserved sigh of relief when record winter rains of 2016/17 ended a five year drought and restored flows to the state’s salmon producing rivers. But the legacy of those drought years continues to haunt them, as poor adult returns this fall have reduced the egg production goals at Coleman hatchery, the states largest producer of Chinook fry, by half, according to Sacramento area media. Coleman aims for 12 million smolts to release each spring into Battle creek, a tributary of the Sacramento river. This year, it will be around six million. Poor adult returns to their natal stream, prevented staff from collecting and fertilizing enough eggs. However, there were plenty of Chinook around the California Central valley last fall, enough to provide a commercial and sports fishery, and other hatcheries met and exceeded their goals, but the Coleman fish just didn’t come straight home. Managers say that giving smolts a ride down river in the spring, in response to past drought conditions, is to blame. Hatchery staff were able to collect sufficient eggs and sperm to produce fry on target during the drought years. But spring river conditions in 2014 and 2015 were described as “abysmal”. Warm water temperatures and low river levels could harm the freshly released smolts and increase the likely hood of predation, so in those years they were pumped into tanker trucks and driven the 280 miles down stream to acclimatization pens at the mouth of the Sacramento river. This means that they missed the normal “river imprinting” process and that has disoriented the fish that attempted to find their way home this fall. Historical returns to the Coleman are around 143,000 adult fish. Last fall saw merely 3,000. That was only enough to collect and fertilize about four million eggs. But staff were able to round up some of the missing brethren. Wire tags indicated that many of the strays ended up at Nimbus hatchery on the America River, another branch of the Sacramento, and they gave up another two million eggs for Coleman production. In an effort to avoid mixing genetic strains, US Fish and Wildlife Service officials declined to bring in fish from other watersheds to increase Coleman numbers.
How government and tribal members have combined forces to save a rare and endangered species of trout in Arizona. The Apache trout is named for the people and the place that are intertwined with one another. The yellow trout ornamented with black spots, white-tipped fins, and a raccoon-like eye mask lives naturally only in the headwaters of the White, Black, and Little Colorado rivers near the New Mexico border. These waters harbor some of the last remaining populations of this pretty trout found nowhere else but in streams that rim the White Mountains of Arizona. The fish has been well known to anglers for some time. Local farmers and ranchers made summertime forays into the high country to catch them. One correspondent, simply “J.H.” from Show Low, Arizona, wrote in a July 1886 issue of the St. John’s Herald: “I speak truly when I say it was the most enjoyable period of my life.” He recounted how he and his pals caught scads of Apache trout from the White River during a prolonged summer outing. The sport fishery was renowned. The Apache trout had become known to science a few years earlier in 1873, when it was collected by members of the U.S. Geographical Survey, and wrongly identified it as a Colorado River cutthroat trout. Other scientists collected it from the White Mountains from time to time, but it wasn’t until a century later in 1972 that the fish was properly recognized as a unique species and assigned its current scientific- (Oncorhynchus apache) and common names. A year later it was placed on the endangered species list. Places everywhere have their scars, and the White Mountains are no exception. The loss of habitat from excessive timbering and grazing and the introduction of non-native trout species were detrimental to the native Apache trout. High sedimentation during the spring run-off affected trout reproduction; fine sediments clogged porous gravel beds where oxygen-rich water should percolate over incubating eggs. Over the last 75 years, through the actions of the White Mountain Apache Tribe, followed by work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), U.S. Forest Service, and Arizona Game and Fish Department, Apache trout populations have rallied. The future looks sunny for the species; it could be the first sport fish to be recovered and removed from federal threatened or endangered species protection. Conservation work continues. Cattle have been fenced out of select Apache trout streams within the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and along streams within the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. Non-native sport fishes are no longer stocked near Apache trout waters. Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery, located on the reservation, continues to raise Apache trout for sport fishing. Apache trout from the federal fisheries facility are stocked on the reservation and they are shared with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to be stocked in neighboring national forest waters. Many streams are open to anglers. The Service’s Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office (FWCO) biologists remain shin-deep in Apache trout work, striving toward that goal of recovering the threatened species. They expend a great deal of energy removing non-native brown trout and brook trout from Apache trout waters. They accomplish this with backpack-mounted electrofishing gear where the unwanted fish are stunned and netted from high mountain streams. A new technology known as environmental DNA (eDNA) guides their work. Fish shed skin cells and of course eliminate bodily waste into the water, which then contains the animal’s DNA that can be detected in the water. Biologists from the FWCO and tribe collect stream water from several sites over long reaches, and pass the water through filters that are analyzed by U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station. These lab results then identify those stream sections that contain the unwanted non-native trout. Periodic population monitoring continues, as does barrier monitoring. Where unwanted non-native fishes occur downstream, constructed barriers keep those below at bay, and the pure Apache trout populations protected above. Constructed barriers now exist on 23 creeks. At present, Apache trout exist in 28 populations and swim in 170 miles of streams. The lot of Apache trout has changed significantly. In a relatively brief period the species has emerged from anonymity and mistaken identity to the point when the White Mountain Apache Tribe stepped up to protect their trout. It’s now the official state fish of Arizona and a favorite among anglers. For more information contact: Craig Springer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico. www.fws.gov/southwest
The Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic Salmon were declared endangered in 2003. Of the more than 40 rivers that were home to the species, mostly have none now.
The Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association’s (CIAA) board of directors has decided to proceed with caution. It will reduce the number of pink salmon planned for release in the spring from its Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery. The hatchery is located on a lagoon connected to Kachemak Bay which lies within Kachemak Bay State Park.
The Apache trout is named for the people and the place that are intertwined with one another. The yellow trout ornamented with black spots, white-tipped fins, and a raccoon-like eye mask lives naturally only in the headwaters of the White, Black, and Little Colorado rivers near the New Mexico border. These waters harbor some of the last remaining populations of this pretty trout found nowhere else but in streams that rim the White Mountains of Arizona.
Three hatcheries from Krasnodar Krai in Russia will release 500,000 sturgeon fry per year, or 1.5 million in total, to the Kuban River and Azov Sea from 2017 to 2019, partly to help mitigate damage done by construction of the Kerch Strait Bridge.
Hokkaido’s hatchery stock enhancement program began in the late 19th century and has continued for over 120 years. The first facility to be constructed was the Chitose Central Salmon Hatchery, built in 1888 on a tributary of the Ishikari River in northwestern Hokkaido.
The Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery at Netarts Bay in Tillamook Oregon produces a third of all oyster larvae on the West Coast of the US, according to Alan Barton, Production Manager. It is the state’s only shellfish hatchery. Owner-operator, Sue Cudd confirmed for HI that 2016 was the hatchery’s best year yet for production of oyster spat. After such a banner year, it could be hard to forget that the operation nearly shut down a decade ago.
A new $4+ million research project in British Columbia, Canada will result in identification of genes that will help trout better survive future conditions, including warmer lake water temperatures and perhaps higher alkalinity.
Late last fall, the US Fish and Wildlife Service working with its partner agencies, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the US Forest Service, released two age classes of Gila trout into Mineral Creek ranging up to a foot long.
Inhabiting the cool, fast flowing reaches of the Murray River and her tributaries, the ecological niches of the trout cod and Macquarie perch have been disrupted by agriculture and forest clearing, and their migratory routes blocked by dam construction.
“When I first started growing oysters in Willapa Bay in 1979, we could put out shells and collect seed,” recalls Dave Nisbet, owner of Goose Point Oyster Company. “That’s the way I built up my business.”
The Wilsgård Offshore Tank Fleet (OTF) is a barge-based smolt production concept under development by Norway’s Wilsgård Fiskeoppdrett AS for use in Norwegian fjords. A key part of the design is a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) explains managing director Fredd Wilsgård. “The OTF is 100% closed and has no emissions. That means that we clean all the water that comes in and we clean all the water that goes out.” By cleaning the water that comes into the OTF, no unwanted organisms (bacteria, sea lice, etc) enter the production system. Also, the production water is cleaned and sterilised before it leaves the system. And it’s 100% secure against escapes. One of the goals of the OTF is site area optimization. Since the OTF cleans water coming in and going out of the system, it will neither be affected by nor affect the environment. As Wilsgård points out, “this means that you can establish larger OTFs, more OTFs and that they can be located in the same fjord. If you look at traditional area use at a site, 200 × 600 metres, you can place six OTFs in such an area and deliver large smolt at up to 70 traditional concessions.” The OTF is designed to take on fry at 30–40 grams and rear them to 500 grams before the fish are transferred to traditional fjord-based cages for a period of about 12 months. Since the OTF takes fry into production, the area required on land is also significantly reduced. The company has applied for eleven development licenses, with a total maximum allowed biomass of 8580 tonnes for the OTF.
Fish reared in sunny, outdoor climates can suffer from the effects of severe sunburn. And although water generally provides a good barrier against most wavelengths of ultra-violet light, middle and long U-V wavelengths can penetrate water, particularly in water of high clarity. Water with even moderate turbidity from suspended solids, or discoloration from dissolved organic substances, usually provides an excellent barrier against all U-V wavelengths, and sunburn will not be a problem. However, if you are using a high clarity water source, like groundwater, and have an outdoor facility, your fish may susceptible to sunburn. Fish with sunburn develop skin sores in the areas exposed most directly to the sun, the top of the head, dorsal fin and upper back, and the top of the caudal fin. The affected skin first turns a whitish color and eventually becomes patchy, thickened and creamy colored. Fins become frayed with a rough, ragged margin, and as the sores develop, the skin flakes off leaving a whitish or pink colored ulcer exposing the underlying cartilage or muscle. An easy solution, says Adam Anton, a Fish and Wildlife Technician at Feather River Hatchery in California, is to build a simple sunshade as shown in the photo. The material list is simple, just some 1-inch PVC pipe, elbows, PVC glue, shade cloth and zip ties. The holes on top of the shade cloth are so fish won’t get trapped if they jump on top of it.
BioMar reports that it has consolidated a team of dedicated hatchery specialists in order to further develop the company’s hatchery feed products.
Cooperation between the Natural Resources Institute Finland and IT company Vatjus-Micro Ltd has produced a real-time broodstock management application that they claim is both cost- and time-effective.
AquaGen recently reported that it has opened a Scottish office at Stirling University Innovation Park. The opening marks a strengthening of the market efforts and technical support for its customers in Scotland and Ireland.
Late in October Benchmark announced that its first commercial-scale batch of antigen has been processed at its facility in Braintree, UK.
Finfish and shrimp hatcheries deal with some of the most complicated life-cycle phases of any farmed organism and this poses a challenge that can only be successfully met with the right knowledge and experience.
By 1979 Cameron's had built and operated the first commercial oyster hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere and in 1980 the company commenced development of the first commercial production system in Australia for the growing of oysters in deep water.
The strains that the researchers have produced include Tetraselmis sp., Chaetoceros calcitrans, Nannochloropsis sp. and Chlorella vulgaris, all in paste form, according to Soledad Garibay, project head for UPV-CFOS Improvement of Microalgae Paste Production for Aquaculture.
Seafood investor Broodstock Capital recently signed an agreement with Billund Aquakulturservice A/S (“Billund Aquaculture”) to become a majority shareholder with a 51% ownership share. Billund Aquaculture Chile S.A (“Billund Chile”) will be part of the new group.
Senect GmbH of Landau, Germany has developed aquaculture control technology which measures water parameters and controls processes - combined with online access and alarming on smartphone, tablet or PC.
Pacific Trading Aquaculture of Dublin, Ireland recently released information about a new larval feed for cleaner fish, specifically lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus).

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