Good progress on selective breeding

NIWA is making good progress in developing elite broodstock of three new aquaculture species: kingfish, hāpuku, and pāua – the latter with industry partners OceanNZ Blue Ltd.

The initial goal for all three species is to spawn sufficient wild broodstock to form a diverse genetic base for future selection. We’ve had good success at spawning new broodstock in captivity and have established 43 hāpuku, 100 pāua, and more than 20 kingfish families.

“This pedigree population of families forms the backbone of our selective breeding programme and represents a significant resource for the future industry,” says programme leader Dr Jane Symonds.

“We now need to be able to identify the best-performing individuals, with commercially important traits, capable of producing superior seed,” says Dr Symonds.

Three years into a six-year programme, we’ve made significant progress on several fronts:

  • successfully bred from the first generation of domesticated kingfish.
  • developed methods for manipulating spawning, sexing broodstock and assessing individual parental contribution to future generations
  • with AgResearch Ltd, developed microsatellite DNA markers to determine parentage and relatedness among individuals for all three species
  • determined the heritability of growth traits in hāpuku for the first time, showing that selection of faster growing hāpuku stocks is possible
  • developed computer models to help design the most appropriate breeding programme for each species, in conjunction with AbacusBio Ltd.
  • developing optimised diets for broodstock in order to consistently produce high quality offspring

“Over the next few years will continue to evaluate the performance of our wild broodstock and their offspring,” says Dr Symonds. “Once these families spawn, we will be in the position to supply selected domesticated stocks to the industry.”

Contact: Dr Jane Symonds

High Performance Aquaculture Broodstock programme

NIWA’s broodstock services

Hapuku (groper)
Research subject: BiotechnologyFishGenetics