New Finfish Research Centre will provide a boost for aquaculture

Cawthron Institute is celebrating the official opening of the new Finfish Research Centre located at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park near Nelson.

The new facility, which boasts systems and capacity unique in NZ, will provide a world-class centre for finfish research, further anchoring Cawthron as aquaculture research experts.

The centre was officially opened by Her Worship the Mayor of Nelson, Rachel Reese on 9 October, 2018.

The Finfish Research Centre will deliver commercially relevant science to enable improved stock management, breeding, and husbandry and will support the development and growth of the aquaculture industry, says Cawthron Institute’s Aquaculture Group Manager, Dr Serean Adams. Dr Adams says that the efficient salmon research programme currently underway in the facility will combine new, innovative analytical tools with industry-wide data analysis, environmental monitoring, and controlled trials.

“This will translate into a step-change in industry know-how and selective breeding of finfish to boost production efficiency, leading to greater economic returns and sustainable environmental management,” she says.

“For farmers, fish growth rates, how healthy their stocks are and how efficiently they convert feed into weight gain are important factors for optimising productivity and make a big difference to the economic bottom line and to environmental sustainability. Feed is the largest cost of farming fish so knowledge about food conversion efficiency and the underlying biological processes that determine it is extremely important.”

Cawthron Senior Aquaculture Scientist Dr Jane Symonds is leading the efficient salmon programme and says that it’s important to identify and fill knowledge gaps. “By understanding processes that influence finfish feed conversion, industry can improve its performance, profitability, and sustainability,” says Dr Symonds. This multi-disciplinary research involves multiple New Zealand and international collaborators and the Cawthron team has been joined by five new technical staff working at the Centre.

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