Assessing the impacts of husbandry techniques on the physiology and performance of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) broodstock

Supervision team:

Dr. Kelli Anderson

Dr. Gianluca Amoroso (Petuna Seafoods)

Professor Abigail Elizur (University of the Sunshine Coast)

Salmonids have been farmed for decades in Australia, and ~50 000 tonne is produced annually in Tasmania, yet the industry faces challenges to long term stability due to climate change. This can be observed in outdoor pond and tank systems where the water reaches in excess of 22 °C in summer. To date, the impacts of outdoor pond culture on the physiology and reproductive performance of female Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) has never been studied systematically, and it is therefore difficult to gauge the costs/benefits of using different broodstock management strategies. Thus, the first broad aim of the proposed work is to 1) characterise the impacts of pond and tank culture techniques on broodstock physiology and development, egg quality, and offspring performance.

The spawning period for the Tasmanian stock of Atlantic salmon is typically compressed relative to their northern hemisphere counterparts, and the reduced window for stripping and fertilisation increases the difficulty of managing a large number of broodstock during the spawning season. This project will trial the use photothermal manipulation as means of fine tuning the onset of ovulation and spawning in female Atlantic salmon, with the ultimate goal being to 2) stagger the spawning period for subsets of fish without reducing reproductive performance.

By utilising a range of molecular techniques, we will also assess the physiological responses of female salmon to the conditions tested, and understand the molecular processes that underpin reproductive performance.

Authorised by the Executive Director, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
October 7, 2019