OCARD develops 3 superior strains for aqua-industry

By Dr. Hanping Wang
Senior Scientist

Yellow perch, bluegill, and largemouth bass are the top three aquaculture species in the Midwest and North Central Region. Funded by a USDA-North Central Region Aquaculture Center (NCRAC) and NOAA-Sea Grant, the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) at The Ohio State University South Centers has developed fast-growing strains of these species to meet industry’s needs in the past few years.

Larger, Faster-Growing All-Female Yellow Perch: 
Yellow perch females grow significantly faster and larger than males. All-female monosex populations will significantly benefit the aquaculture industry. OCARD at Piketon has created a technology that can generate large numbers of fast-growing, all-female yellow perch populations. A growth performance test of all-females vs. a mixed-sex group showed that all-females grew 26.3% faster than the mixed group, and 66.0% faster than males. In 2018, OCARD created a large number of neomale broodstock of yellow perch with a female genotype. The large numbers of superior neomale broodstock will enable us to produce a commercial-scale of all-female monosex yellow perch. The all-female monosex strain will be available to aquaculture industry in 2019.

BluegillFaster-Growing All-Male Bluegill
Unlike yellow perch, bluegill males grow significantly faster and larger than females. All-male monosex populations are needed by the aquaculture industry. OCARD at Piketon has created a technology that can generate large numbers of fast-growing, all-male bluegill populations. All-male or near-all-male bluegill populations were successfully produced and tested. Results from testing all-male or near-all-male bluegill populations at two locations showed: 1) Weight gain and growth rate of all-male stock were 2.1 times that of regular stocks; 2) All-male groups had significantly uniformed size and lower coefficient of variation; and 3) Survival of all-male groups was significantly higher than that of mixed sex groups due to more uniformed size. 
A successful creation of genetically male bluegill strains would have a tremendous impact on the sunfish aquaculture industry by increasing the growth rate of 30-35% and saving energy expenditure by 20-30% for sex growth. In 2018, the aquaculture team at Piketon created a large number of all-male producing broodstock of bluegill, which will enable us to produce a commercial-scale of all-male monosex bluegill. The all-male monosex strain will be available to the aquaculture industry in 2019. 

Faster-Growing Largemouth Bass
OCARD at Piketon genotyped  approximately 1,250 largemouth bass in total from 28 populations across the United States. Based on the genetic data and in collaboration with Southern Illinois University Carbondale, we identified a fast-growing strain. We conducted an experiment to compare growth performance of the identified strain vs. an Ohio control group and results showed the fish from the identified group grew 89.5% faster than the control group. The results provide a valuable base for developing fast-growing largemouth bass broodstocks for industry.

For more information about those fast-growing strains, please visit cfaes.osu.edu/stories/defying-the-laws-nature.