tidepool Article: Spotted Wolffish Project

Spotted Wolffish: Refining and Validating Best Practices for Juvenile Production Technologies and Initiating an Aquatic Health Surveillance Program

The Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation (CCFI), led by managing director Mr. Keith Hutchings, has partnered with Amar Seafoods Ltd and Memorial University’s Department of Ocean Sciences to move forward on a project focusing on “Spotted Wolffish” (Anarhichas minor).

The project will focus on “Refining and Validating Best Practices for Juvenile Production Technologies and Initiating an Aquatic Animal Health Surveillance Program”.

This project is in alignment with the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture (FFA) provincial aquaculture “Multi Species Strategy” as well as in alignment with Amar Seafoods Ltd. priorities. This work will allow us to increase our knowledge and production for wolffish and make significant advances towards this species reaching its commercialization goals through land-based technology.

Memorial University of Newfoundland has long been an active proponent of Aquaculture Research & Development. Faculty, students and support staff at the Department of Ocean Sciences and the Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building (JBARB) will be key players in the execution of this industrial led project. Currently, there are no commercial spotted wolffish hatchery(s) in Newfoundland / Canada and therefore the JBARB will be playing a major role in this new and exciting semi commercial multi-year project. The JBARB provides facilities designed to support research, training, pre-commercial production, and smallscale commercial trials, on alternative species for marine aquaculture.

This new and exciting project will compliment ongoing research and development activities at the OSC, which are already providing information/data that are essential for the viability and continued growth of our multi species (lumpfish, spotted wolffish, American oysters, marine plants, sea urchins) aquaculture industry.

We believe, collectively, that funding projects such as this one will help to solidify “new local investment”, helping to solidify Atlantic Canada and neighboring Quebec as world leaders in aquaculture innovation and safe farming practices. Also, at the same time maintaining the prosperity that we see as a direct result of the marine finfish and shellfish farming operations.

Spotted wolffish, a cold water, demersal fish, native to the north Atlantic Ocean has emerged as a promising candidate for cold-water aquaculture and is looked upon with considerable interest in Norway and Canada.

Since the earlier 2000's, Norway has been the only country with a “commercial” aquaculture production of spotted wolffish. Amar Seafoods Ltd. is committed and have been active in both Canada and Norway over the past number of years.

The market value of the product is well proven, and the very favorable production characteristics are well documented. Furthermore, spotted wolffish possess characteristics important for the establishment of an exclusive niche product, including a limited geographic area suitable for culture, together with a unique, highquality product.

Spotted wolffish have numerous attributes that make them a desirable species to culture including, but not limited to:
• having a high market value;
• desired by consumers and chefs;
• not supplied by U.S. or Canadian wild fisheries;
• an established broodstock available in neighboring Quebec, Prince Edward Island and now starting in Newfoundland and Labrador;
• well-developed hatchlings that do not require live feed;
• high rearing density tolerance;
• and low disease susceptibility.

This particular project is supported in principle by representatives from the Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada), Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), Memorial University of Newfoundland and Amar Seafoods Ltd.

Memorial and the province has a “Team of Highly Qualified Staff, Students and Researchers” for projects such as this. We are blessed with talent, passion and facilities at Memorial.

Specifically, this project will address:
• Establishment of a “Broodstock Program in NL”.
• Refinement and validation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) / best practices for “Semi Commercial Scale Juvenile Production Technologies”.
• Initiate an “Aquatic Animal Health Surveillance Program”.
• Technology and Knowledge Transfer.
• Creation of Private Sector Jobs for local residents.
Amar has taken a regional commercial collaboration approach and Memorial University’s Department of Ocean Sciences is glad to be a partner. The Ocean Sciences Centre staff works closely with its industry partners, as demonstrated through current and past projects that have been undertaken here at Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Danny Boyce
Facility and Business Manager
Dr. Joe Brown Aquatic Research Building

Mr. Danny Boyce Department of Ocean Sciences
Dr. Javier Santander Department of Ocean Sciences
Capt. Knut Trellevik. President Amar Seafoods Ltd.
Mr. Bjorn Apeland CEO Amar Group

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