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Walleye aquaculture: A biological strategy to facilitate land-based culture of Stizostedion vitreum in recirculation systems



At present, the Canadian aquaculture industry is dominated by the production of salmon and trout. The market value of many other fish species is very high but, significant research is still required before they can be cultured at a comparable level. This project is oriented towards the development of culture techniques for one of Canada's most economically valuable freshwater fish species, walleye. Our long-term strategy for walleye culture involves land-based rearing in ponds and recirculation systems. This project has three main objectives;

  1. to identify the best wild walleye stock in Ontario for domestication,
  2. to determine the optimal conditions for the culture of this walleye stock in ponds and recirculation systems, and
  3. to develop better techniques for maintaining broodstock and for inducing spawning in captivity.

We have already made significant progress in two of these main areas. Stock comparisons among walleye from Lake Erie, Lake Nipissing and Lake Ontario (Bay of Quinte) indicate that Lake Ontario walleye grow best under our culture conditions. Further experiments have also begun to describe the thresholds for oxygen, nitrite and ammonia that will affect the physiology and growth of walleye in closed systems. Another series of experiments has shown that the growth of walleye is not significantly influenced by changes in environmental salinity. In the course of these studies, we have also developed a number of walleye-specific molecular tools to monitor growth and stress in very small individuals over short periods of time. These new molecular tools will greatly enhance our ability to conduct these types of studies and will be made available to other researchers in this area. We are now poised to begin research on the development of broodstock techniques for walleye during the coming year. This research will lead to increased diversification in the Canadian aquaculture industry.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2002 - 2005


Central Canada: Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Freshwater Drainage Basin

Principal Investigator(s)

Doug Geiling

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