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Improving fertilization success of Arctic charr



Wild Arctic charr populations have a history of overharvest and remaining small-scale fisheries are under tight government regulation. Given a high market demand for good quality product, a high market price, and the suitability of this species for production under high densities, Arctic charr seems an excellent choice for the development of a sustainable land-based aquaculture industry. However, development of Arctic charr as a viable aquaculture species has been limited by poor and variable fertilization success and egg survival rates within the culture environment; even if there is not a significant loss of eggs due to failed fertilization, significant egg losses can occur during egg development. For long-term growth and success of a land-based Arctic charr industry, we must be able to provide a reliable supply of eggs and/or fry with known and consistent performance.

This project will track egg development, survival, hatching success and early performance of the fry during the first four months after initial feeding. The primary goal of the research is to improve the fertilization success and hatchability of cultured Arctic charr by optimizing the broodstock diet and defining protocols for collecting gametes and performing the fertilizations.

The three objectives to this project are to: 1) Formulate and test a brood specific diet optimized for Arctic charr; 2) Optimize gamete collection, storage, and fertilization protocols; and 3) Assess impacts of optimized diet and fertilization on early-rearing performance. Increased fertilization rates would provide an immense savings on rearing space, water use, electricity, and waste output. As well, it could be an indicator of improved fish health and welfare. Development of a viable Arctic charr land-based aquaculture industry is also highly relevant to the goal of developing sustainable culture techniques for the advancement of alternate or under-exploited species.

Program name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2-year project

Principal investigators

Ian Forster, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, West Vancouver Laboratory, Pacific Region
Robert Devlin, Research Scientist, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, West Vancouver Laboratory, Pacific Region

Team members

Brad Hicks, Executive Vice President, Taplow Ventures


Wendy Vandersteen, Head of Operations and Head of Broodstock Development, Miracle Springs Inc.

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