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Cod Aquaculture - Strategies for Improved Hatchery Broodstock Management



Successful global development of the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry, coupled with growing market demand for white-fleshed fish at a time of declining supply from the traditional capture fisheries, has spurred considerable interest in alternative marine finfish species. Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, is one such species currently under investigation in Norway, Scotland, the United States, and Canada. Newfoundland has an abundance of sheltered inshore areas with potential sea cage culture sites unsuitable to salmonid aquaculture due to lethal low winter water temperatures. However, these are believed highly suited to culture of a hardier species such as Atlantic cod. An ongoing partnership between three private companies and Memorial University in recent years has resulted in the establishment and operation of a pilot scale cod hatchery at the University's Ocean Science Center. Supported by major financial support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency, other public agencies, and private investment, two sea cage R&D sites have been established on the province's south coast and a commercial-scale hatchery owned by the private industry partners is under construction at Bay Roberts. The current ACRDP-funded project partners DFO N&L Region in a joint collaborative initiative with industry and the University to support commercialization of Atlantic cod aquaculture by developing improved strategies for hatchery broodstock management. Such techniques are necessary to optimize the production performance of eggs and larvae in the hatchery. Furthermore, establishment of a high quality hatchery broodstock will reduce dependence on annual capture of wild broodfish and reduce inter-annual variability in broodstock condition. It also permits manipulation of their reproductive cycle resulting in the capacity for multiple annual spawnings, increased hatchery juvenile production, and improved economics. Specifically, the objectives are to a) determine relationships among broodstock husbandry practices, feeding schedules, spawning success, and post-spawning mortality, b) conduct photomanipulation experiments on cod broodstock to determine egg quality and hatching success of cod larvae resulting from photomanipulated spawnings, and c) generate a reliable annual supply of cod eggs for industry use.

Program Name

Aquaculture Collaborative Research and Development Program (ACRDP)


2001 - 2005


Atlantic: Newfoundland, Labrador Shelves

Principal Investigator(s)

Randy Penney

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