Pacific red snapper grown by Earth Ocean Farms off the coast of Baja Mexico. Photo: Earth Ocean Farms.

Breeding programme targets better performing snapper

Genetic scientists from North America’s Centre for Aquaculture Technologies (CAT) have partnered with Earth Ocean Farms in Baja Mexico to develop a customised breeding programme for Pacific red snapper (Lutjanus peru). It is the first of its kind for this species.

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CAT will assist Earth Ocean Farms (EOF) to select for specific traits in the snapper stock that show higher production yields through improved growth performance and phenotypic traits. The elements of the selection include insights into feed conversion and product yield.

CAT said its in-house genotyping team had developed a custom panel of genetic markers to accelerate genetic improvement in red snapper, analyse performance and ensure the overall health of the stock.

Significant improvements

“It is exciting to apply our knowledge to new species,” said CAT president and chief executive John Buchanan. “By using a customised approach, our expert team will be able to quickly show significant improvements for EOF. Ensuring a healthy genetic diversity among EOF’s broodstock will provide future options as flexibility and continued improvement are the keys to profitability.”

EOF director general Pablo Konietzko said the future of sustainably raised red snapper is vitally important to take the pressure of the overfishing of the wild Pacific and Atlantic red snappers while meeting market demand.

“Implementing a family-based breeding programme is a complex and challenging task, and that is why we chose to work with the expert team at the Centre for Aquaculture Technologies,” said Konietzko.

“The CAT team not only understand fish breeding and genetics, they also carry practical aquaculture expertise. Their client-oriented approach will ensure that we will meet our company growth objectives for our mid- and long-term goals.”

Open ocean farming

CAT is a R&D and contract service organisation with facilities located in San Diego, California and in Victoria and Souris, Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Earth Ocean Farms is a vertically integrated company that produces Pacific red snapper and totoaba in submersible cages in the open ocean. It runs a hatchery and processing facility, and its products are Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) certified.