Research
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.

A project to address one of the key challenges faced by Scotland’s salmon farmers is underway, supported by grant funding from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) and UK research council BBSRC.

The island state of Tasmania is arguably Australia’s aquaculture heartland. The industry generates 30% of the nation’s total seafood production of AU$2.5billion. Of this, $25m comes from the production of edible oysters. But more significantly, Tasmania produces 95% of the Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) seedstock for the domestic industry, which is spread across New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. Consequently the hatchery sector has found itself playing an important role in the development of better performing and disease-resistant genotypes for a good segment of the Australian Pacific oyster sector.

A new genetic tool, designed to enable oyster farmers to select breeding stock according to both disease resistance and yield benefits, is at an advanced stage of development at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute.

The most effective method of gender manipulation to create all-female stocks of southern flounder uses a combination of UV irradiation to denature genetic input from male southern flounder prior to egg activation, followed by a pressure shock.

Collecting queen conch eggs from several females is a key factor to ensure variation in the offspring from an experimental hatchery in the Bahamas notes a recent study.

Selective breeding of aquatic species has economic benefits coming from increased productivity, better utilization of natural resources, as well as improved welfare of the animals.

Sea urchins are a favourite menu item for sushi consumers in Japan, especially on Okinawa, where collector urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) grow naturally but are now seriously over-fished.

One of the major challenges to fish-farming companies as they try to produce market-size fish more rapidly is that in many species the natural development of reproductive organs (testes and ovaries) – diverts energy away from growing, causing the growth rate to slow.

Research conducted into the genetic make-up of a resilient red alga has taken scientists a step closer to breeding disease-resistant seaweed.

Jaw malformation, which has a large negative impact on the quality of greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili) fingerlings, may be minimized by using low brightness rearing tank walls, according to a study conducted in Japan.

The challenge of securing breeding advances in farmed fish through genomics and new genetic technologies is one of key focus areas identified by Edinburgh-based Roslin Technologies, a specialist biotechnology company which has recently raised £10 million in new funding to help commercialize research findings from the world renowned Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh’s Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies.

A study of hypoxia that started in a lab, then moved to the Gulf of Mexico, has now found its way to the cold waters of Northeastern United States in Chesapeake Bay. That is where researchers Troy Tuckey and Mary Fabrizio at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are looking at how naturally occurring hypoxia in the Chesapeake Bay area is affecting fish resources, namely the Atlantic Croaker (Micropogonias undulates). The laboratory study found that the gonads of fish exposed to low levels of oxygenated water (hypoxia is considered DO ≤ 2 mg/L) were smaller than fish exposed to normoxic (normal oxygen levels) due to endocrine disrupters.

Wide market acceptance, high market value and their large size make Atlantic Halibut (Hippoglossus Hippoglossus L.) an attractive species for aquaculture.  However, high mortalities in early life stages have been a challenge for commercial producers.

A research effort in New Zealand has made a breakthrough in the early rearing of greenshell mussels. New Zealand’s mussel farming industry is worth $350 million to the nation’s economy, but utilizes largely wild-caught spat. Rodney Roberts, programme manager for Shellfish Production and Technology New Zealand Ltd (SPATNZ), says the research at their hatchery in Nelson should make the process much easier for farmers and place less stress on local stocks.

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