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National Strategic Initiative Project Summaries 1999  [TEXT ONLY VERSION ]

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Reducing the Risk of Open-Ocean Aquaculture Facilities to Protected Species

Dr. Walter Paul – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This Project, to be completed in 2001, seeks to develop a transmitting buoy that would be activated by an entangled large marine mammal. A whale would put excessive stresses on a submerged long-line mussel aquaculture mooring, break a weak line line, which would trigger a release to allow a submerged telemetry buoy to surface. Once at the surface the buoy would start transmitting a distress signal to alert personnel in a whale monitoring agency.

Triploid-tetraploid Technology for Hard Clam Aquaculture

Dr. Ximing Guo and Dr. John Kraeuter
Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory, Rutgers University, New Jersey.

The overall goal of this project is to enhance hard clam aquaculture in NJ and Atlantic US through the development and introduction of the triploid-tetraploid technology. Specifically, we propose to: 1) produce and rigidly evaluate two types of triploid hard clams produced by inhibiting polar body I (PB1) and II (PB2), respectively; 2) test tetraploid induction by inhibiting PB1 with different agents and conditions.

Triploids (3n) and tetraploids (4n) are organisms with three and four sets of chromosomes, respectively. Triploid shellfish are superior stocks for aquaculture because of their sterility, superior growth and improved meat quality. Triploids grow significantly faster than diploids in most molluscs studied so far. Tetraploids are valuable because they provide the most effective approach to triploid production. Tetraploids are fertile and produce 100% pure and genetically superior triploids when mated with normal diploids.

In summer of 2000, we successfully produced four replicates of two types of triploids by blocking PB1 and PB2, respectively. In two of the four replicates, 100% triploids were produced by blocking PB2. Triploid percentages in other groups ranged from 44 to 86%. A total of 12 groups, four replicates of two triploid groups and one diploid control, were produced. Clams, about 5000 per group, are cultured in nurseries at Biosphere Inc and Rutgers Haskin Shellfish Research Lab. Clams will be deployed in the field next spring and evaluated for growth performances. Tetraploid induction by blocking PB1 and gynogenesis produced high levels of tetraploid embryos, but no tetraploid juveniles. Other approaches of tetraploid induction will be tested in 2001.


A Policy Framework for Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the 3-200 mile U.S. Ocean Zone

Dr. Biliana Cicin-Sain and Dr. Robert Knecht
Center for the Study of Marine Policy, University of Delaware

The objectives of this research are to 1) identify and analyze a range of policy components both on the basis of theory and existing practices in the U.S., and in the guidance offered by various federal agencies and in other nations; 2) assess policy options for each policy component; and 3) select and combine options into a proposed policy framework.

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Report on the activities for the project

During Phase 1 (September to December 2001) of our project the original goals were to have a coordination meeting between the team members to further develop the project strategy and to hold the first of two National Workshops involving federal agencies, Congressional staff, other relevant interested parties and the team members. During this phase we presented previous recommendations from "Governing Offshore Aquaculture: Issues and Policies" and a tentative project strategy to the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture (October 25, 2001). During this meeting the JSA contributed helpful comments and suggestions that were discussed at the team coordination meeting, which was successfully held on November 15 and 16, 2001, at the Graduate College of Marine Studies, University of Delaware. One of the conclusions of the team meeting was to hold the National Workshop later than originally planned, in September 2002, to insure that detailed draft operational guidelines would be available. The project team is large and includes quite divergent perspectives (e.g., science, industry, environmental groups); therefore, the building of consensus on recommendations involves a lengthy process.

Our original goal and milestone for Phase 2 (January to June 2002) was to develop a draft of detailed operational guidance on the following aspects of the operational framework:

A first draft entitled, "Draft Notes Toward an Operational Framework for Offshore Aquaculture" was completed by the team members in early April 2002. After this first draft was completed, the team felt it was necessary to have another meeting to discuss the draft document; this meeting was held on May 6 and 7, 2002, at the Hall of the States in Washington, D.C.

On May 7, 2002, the team gave a briefing on the project to Ken Turgeon, Frank Lockhart, Peter Hill and Aimee David of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, who expressed a great deal of interest in the study. The Commission staffers noted that the Commission would be very interested in seeing the draft recommendations of this study in late Fall 2002, which the project team promised to do.

During Phase 2, a number of team members formally and informally presented the project at conferences, for example presentations were made at the World Aquaculture Conference in January 2002 and at the PAC Regulations Workshop in March 2002. Additionally, during this time planning for National Workshop #1 continued, planning for the Regional Workshops (discussed in Phase 3) began in some regions, and the draft document was revised based on comments from the May meeting.

We are currently in Phase 3 (July to December 2002), which aims to organize and conduct regional workshops in New England, Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific, in order to tailor the national-level guidance to the varying offshore context of each region. These Regional Workshops are to include regional and state-level officials and stakeholders.

Listed below are the dates and leads of the regional workshops:·

In late July 2002, a revised "Draft Notes Toward an Operational Framework for Offshore Aquaculture" was completed by the team (approximately 120 pages). Also during July dates and invitees were finalized for National Workshop #1. September is a busy month for the team, as National Workshop #1 will be held on September 23 and 24. On September 23rd, the team will meet all day to discuss the revised draft document. The following day will consist of a half-day meeting with invited interested parties from the federal agencies and the states, Congress, the Ocean Commission, NGOs, and industry. After the national and regional workshops, the document will be revised based on comments received in time to submit the revised draft to the U.S. Ocean Commission in November for consideration in their own work. Revision of the operational framework will continue during this time.

The document that results from comments in Phase 3, will be further revised during Phase 4 (January to April 2003). The team will be on target for Phase 4 of the project, as the goals and milestones for this phase include revising the operational framework (based on stakeholder comments) and presenting a revised draft to attendees of the first national workshop in a second national workshop. Phase 5 (May to August 2003) will see a final operational framework document, revised based on comments from National Workshop #2, formally presented to Congress, federal agencies and other interested parties.


Electric Information and Education for the Aquaculture Industry through a Web-based Network of Aquaculture Information Services

LaDon Swann – Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
John Ewart – Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service, University of Delaware
Jonathon Kramer – Maryland Sea Grant College Program, University of Maryland

This project will result in the development and implementation of a virtual clearinghouse for information on aquaculture emanating from a variety of key federal and non-federal sources. This system will provide 24-hour access to a variety of databases, and link expertise within Maryland Sea Grant and the NOAA Central Library with ongoing efforts within the Illinois-Indiana and Delaware Sea Grant Programs.


Captive Spawning, Larval and Early Juvenile Culture of Cobia

Dr. Michael Oesterling and Dr. Jeffrey Tellock
Virginia Institute of Marine Science

This project has resulted in the successful spawning of healthy cobia eggs in captivity, followed by fertilization and the ongrowth of larval and juvenile stages. Protocol were developed for the acquisition, handling and transport of wild-harvested broodstock fish: sexually-ripe female (approaching 60 lbs) and male (30 lbs) cobia were captured by hook-and-line recreational fishermen, transferred to an awaiting boat equipped with a circular live-haul tank, and successfully transported to the VIMS finfish aquaculture facility.

Hormonal implants were used to stimulate the release of gametes: following a short captivity acclimation period (5-10 days), both male and female cobia were implanted with “slow-release” spawning hormones (sGnRHa), and transferred to a 7,500 gallon (28,500 liter), recirculating water holding tank equipped with egg collection devices.


Application of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Principles as a Risk Management Approach for Exotic Pathogen Control in Aquaculture

Dr. Michael Jahncke and Michael Schwarz - VSAREC

This project applies Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HAACP) principles as a risk management approach to control the risk of viral disease transfer to and/or from shrimp aquaculture production and processing facilities. Thus reducing the potential for negative impacts to wild resources and aquaculture stocks.


Technology Transfer to Establish Black Sea Bass Aquaculture as a Commercial Reality

Theodore I. J. Smith – South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium

This project focuses on the demonstration and technology transfer of suitable hatchery and nursery techniques for the production of larval and juvenile black sea bass to make aquaculture of this species commercially viable. Wild black sea bass adults were collected off South Carolina and Virginia and successfully spawned. Over 4.5 million eggs were obtained through cooperative project/industry collaboration. Over 20,000 small juveniles were produced in intensive systems at a private hatchery.


Commercial Hatchery Production of Mutton Snapper (Lutjanus analis) and Greater Amberjack (Seriola dumerili) for Growout in Offshore Cage Systems

Dr. Daniel Benetti - Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science - Aquaculture Program, Florida

This project is developing hatchery technology for the development of commercial tropical marine fish offshore aquaculture in the U.S., especially in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean regions.


Aquaculture of the Florida Bay Scallop in Crystal River, Florida

Dr. Norman Blake - Department of Marine Science, University of South Florida.
Donald Sweat - Florida Sea Grant Extension Program

This project is developing scallop aquaculture technology as a viable alternative for fishermen who have been displaced by Florida’s net ban.

  • Five participating commercial fishermen were provided thirty wire cages, each stocked with three hundred juvenile bay scallops, for growout studies.
  • Present economic estimates now suggest that fishermen can grow scallops for $.08 - .12 per scallop and market the scallops to a processor at $.20 per scallop.
  • Vacuum packing shows great promise in increasing the shelf-life of the product and also increasing its area of marketability.

  • Development of Bay Scallop Stock Enhancement Technology

    Dr. Kenneth M. Leber - Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, Florida

    This project is advancing hatchery-release technology to replenish bay scallop (Argopectin irradians) populations on the west coast of Florida, and to test the relative efficiency of cage vs. free-planting cultured scallops in the field.


    Biological Engineering, Environmental and Legal Research for the Development of Offshore CageAquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico

    Dr. Barry Costa-Pierce - Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium
    Dr. Robert R. Stickney - Texas Sea Grant College Program
    Dr. Clifford Goudey - MIT Sea Grant College Program

    Through the combined efforts of a multi-disciplinary team composed of a university/industry partnership with links to state and extension agencies, this project is monitoring fish behavior using the cage system as a fish aggregating device while evaluating the ecological impact of feeds applied to wild fish and of a single point mooring system.

    The legal research portion of the project was to investigate the legal and regulatory basis of offshore cage and oil/gas platform-based aquaculture by surveying applicable federal laws and state laws in the five Gulf states.



    Use of Emerging Marine Recirculating Technologies to Establish Commercial Production of High-Value Marine Species

    Dr. Charles Weirich - Aquaculture Research Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
    Dr. Edward J. Chesney - Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

    This project is working to establish commercial production of pompano through the use of modern marine recirculating technologies. Husbandry of any animal involves control of the species'reproductive cycle, maintenance of a healthy living environment, an optimal feeding regimen, and protection against disease. The screening and selection of candidate aquaculture species generally begins with capture of larval or juvenile animals from native waters, and seeks to maintain these animals in controlled conditions for experimental purposes. Initial objectives would be to test the survival and growth under intensive culture conditions, develop protocols for managing disease, and evaluate artificial feed formulations. Later stages in adapting wild stock to husbandry would concentrate on managing reproductive processes and rearing larvae, optimizing feeding strategies, determining system carrying capacity, and developing other measures that improve growth and survival. The bottom line is achieving unit production costs below market value. The development of pompano as a candidate fish for production aquaculture is still in its earliest stages, although preliminary results are encouraging. The first year of research has developed treatment and quarantine protocols for eliminating naturally occurring pathogens from wild-harvested juveniles. Controlled feeding experiments have tested the effects of multiple feeding frequencies, using a single high-quality feed, on production characteristics of fish in recirculating systems. Investigations of the effects of stocking density and feeding rate have just begun, and testing of two different diets will begin May 1. Tentative conclusions are as follows:

    System installation (completed)
    This project was approved and initiated in April 2000. From May to September four indoor closed recirculating systems were installed. Two of the systems (Systems A & B) each consist of eight 350-L tanks, a 0.05 m3 marine recirculating bead filter (MRBF) and UV sterilization. The remaining two systems (Systems C & D) consist of four 2,000-L tanks, a 0.1 m3 MRBF and UV sterilization.

    Collection and quarantine of fish - Task Number 1 (completed)
    In September and October 2000 a total of approximately 3,500 juvenile pompano (< 5 g) were collected by seine from Fourchon Beach, LA. After collection fish were transported to quarantine facilities at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON). All fish were subjected to at least a one-month quarantine period to eliminate naturally-occurring pathogens.

    Acclimation of fish for growth experiments (completed)
    In December 2000 approximately 400 fish were transported from LUMCON to the Aquaculture Research Station (ARS) and were stocked into Systems A & B. After a one-month acclimation period growth experiments were initiated in January 2001. All ARS experiments were (or are being) conducted at a nominal salinity of 25 g/L, with water temperatures ranging from 26-30 C, and a 12:12 photoperiod.

    Laboratory growth trials - Tasks Numbers 2 and 8 (completed)

    Study 1:
    In the first study, the effect of feeding frequency on production characteristics including mean weight, weight gain, specific growth rate (SGR), feed conversion efficiency (FCE), and survival was determined. Mean initial weight of fish was 17.0 g. Fish were fed a high quality feed (53% protein, 13 % lipid, # 4 crumble) in daily rations of 5% body weight at one of four frequencies (one, two, three, or six feedings per day). Fish of each treatment were fed the same amount each day. The total ration was divided equally in the case of multiple feedings. Replicates of each treatment were assigned to each system under a completely randomized design to achieve a total of four replicates per treatment (two per system). At two, four, and six weeks after stocking each fish was counted and weighed to determine selected production characteristics (weight, weight gain, specific growth rate - SGR, feed conversion efficiency - FCE, and survival) and to recalculate feed amounts for each treatment. Although at the conclusion of the study analysis of data revealed that no differences in SGR, FCE, and survival existed between treatments, weight and weight gain of fish fed multiple feedings were significantly greater than that of fish fed only once per day. However, no difference in weight gain was observed between fish fed two, three, or six times per day.

    Study 3
    The third study was initiated immediately after conclusion of the second study in May 2001 and was conducted using Systems C & D. In this study the effect of feeding two or four times daily to apparent satiation on production characteristics was evaluated. Mean initial weight of fish was 218.6 g. Fish were stocked at an initial density of 1.5 kg/m3. Fish were fed a 53% protein, 10% lipid floating pelleted diet (4.7-mm). Replicates of each treatment combination were assigned to each system under a completely randomized design to achieve a total of four replicates per treatment (two per system). At three, six, and nine weeks after stocking fish were counted and weighed to determine production characteristics. The following table shows data procured at the conclusion of the study. While there was no difference in production characteristics with respect to feeding frequency, fish fed to satiation four times daily weighed noticeably than fish fed to satiation twice daily.

    At the conclusion of Study 3, two fish from each tank (eight per treatment) were removed and sampled to determine fillet yield (percentage dressout) and percent visceral fat. Muscle was stored at -80 C for subsequent proximate analysis (to be conducted October - November 2001). Remaining fish in tanks (subjected to original treatments) will be removed in October 2001. Please note that fish are being maintained for potential broodstock to be used in Dr. Chesney's experiments. To complement the findings made by completion of Study 3, fish are counted and weighed periodically. On August 24, 2001 mean weight of fish (across treatments) was 679.4 g.

    Evaluation of MRBF performance - Task Number 3 (ongoing)
    Filter performance is currently being evaluated by Dr. Malone's research group in concert with conduction of growth trials.

    Spawning of pompano in captivity and larval growout - Tasks Numbers 4 and 5 (initiated June 2001)
    Dr. Chesney initiated efforts to collect pompano in June 2001. Collected broodstock, in addition to suitable fish procured from the ARS study, will be harbored at LUMCON where attempts to spawn fish in captivity will be undertaken in an effort to produce larval pompano in Fall 2001 and Spring 2002.

    Commercial growth trials - Tasks Numbers 6 and 7 (to be initiated Fall 2001)
    Juvenile pompano produced at LUMCON or collected from the wild will be distributed to cooperating producers. Quarantine procedures will be completed by the individual producers. The culture methods employed will be based on results of ARS laboratory growth trials. Commercial trials will be monitored closely. It is envisioned that production of market ready fish may occur as soon as Spring 2002.

    Economic analysis and dissemination of results - Tasks 9 and 10 (to be initiated at the completion of laboratory and commercial growth trials Necessary information needed for completion of these tasks are being collected.

    Interim Conclusions
    Although this project is not yet complete, several conclusions can be made regarding pompano culture in closed systems.

    1) Pathogens can be eliminated through a comprehensive quarantine period. Once 'clean', pompano exhibit excellent survival rates in captivity. By developing captive stocks, the need for quarantine procedures would be eliminated.

    2) Pompano readily adapt to closed culture systems and seem to thrive at high densities.

    3) For best growth, fish should be fed twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening). More frequent feeding is unnecessary. Results indicate that fish fed to satiation at both feeding periods grow best and exhibit comparable feed conversion efficiencies when compared to fish fed at a fixed rate.

    4) Pompano exhibit phenomenal growth rates. Our findings indicate that market-ready pompano (> 450 g) can be produced from small juveniles in less than six months.


    Development of a Domesticated, Specific-Pathogen-Free (SPF) breeding line of Penaeus chinensis for Aquaculture use in the U. S.

    Dr. Donald Lightner – Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, University of Arizona
    Dr. Phillip Lee – National Resource Center of Cephalopods, University of Texas

    Supplemental report: 16 April, 2002


    Genetic Engineering of Shrimp Cell Lines with Pantropic Retroviral Vector

    Dr. Jane Burns – Department of Pediatrics, University of California
    Dr. Kurt Klimpel – The Super Shrimp Group, Inc., California

    This project is improving the competitiveness of shrimp aquaculture in the U.S. by developing a technology (pantropic, vector-created cell line) that can lead to solutions for infectious diseases that plague the industry.


    Hawaii Offshore Aquaculture Research Project (HOARP) Phase II

    This project is targeted to continue efforts on demonstration of offshore culture and harvest of Pacific threadfin (Polydactulus sexfilis) in a single 2,600 m3 submersible seacage located two miles off the southern end of Oahu in 110 feet of water. Project objectives include doubling seacage pre-harvest density to 20 kg/m3, evaluating the cage as a fish aggregation device, determining the influence of operations on water quality and benthic community structure, and estimating the economics of production. Phase I HOARP was the first project to successfully demonstrate transport, feeding, and harvest of a finfish species under completely submerged conditions. Current Statis: The project was successfully implemented and harvest completed. Final report is due March 1, 2001.

    Updated February 12, 2003

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