Bigger, Faster: Aquaculture Center is transferring fast-growing fish to the aquaculture industry

By Dr. Hanping Wang
Program Leader, Aquaculture

Funded by the USDA and NOAA-Sea Grant, the Ohio Center for Aquaculture Research and Development (OCARD) at The Ohio State University South Centers has developed technology for the production of commercial-scale, fast-growing monosex yellow perch and bluegill — both top aquaculture species in the Midwest and North Central Region. Now, OCARD is transferring these fast-growing monosex fish to the aquaculture industry.

Faster-Growing All-Male Bluegill
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 as 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 by 30-35% and saving energy expenditure of 20-30% for sex growth. In the past few years, the aquaculture team at Piketon has created a large number of all-male producing broodstock of bluegill. We are using the broodstock to produce a commercial-scale of all-male monosex bluegill and disseminating them to the aquaculture industry for demonstration. Large aquaculture farms has been identified for the farm demonstration.

Faster-Growing All-Female Yellow Perch
Yellow perch females grow significantly faster and larger than males. 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 the 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 the past few years, OCARD has created a large number of neomale broodstock of yellow perch with a female genotype. We are using the large numbers of superior neomale broodstock to produce a commercial-scale of all-female monosex yellow perch and transferring them to aquaculture industry for demonstration. A few aquaculture farms have been identified for the farm demonstration. All-female monosex populations will significantly benefit the aquaculture industry.