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Guide to Small-scale Marine Finfish Hatchery Technology

AUSTRALIA - Recent improvements in hatchery production technology for high-value marine finfish species such as groupers have led to an increased interest in setting up hatcheries to produce fingerlings for aquaculture.

Small-scale hatcheries make this technology available to poor people in developing countries.

Capital costs for small-scale hatcheries are relatively low, and the profitability of these ventures ensures rapid payback of capital investment.

Now a new guide provides an outline of the requirements to establish a small-scale marine finfish hatchery, particularly the economic aspects.

It is intended to provide sufficient information for potential investors to decide whether investment in such ventures is appropriate for them.

The guide provides some basic technical information in order to give an indication of the level of technical expertise necessary to operate a small-scale marine finfish hatchery.

However, the publishers, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, say it is not intended as a detailed technical guide to the operation of small-scale hatcheries. Additional resources, such as training courses in marine finfish hatchery production, are available and these are listed in this document.

Development of small-scale hatcheries may be more appropriate where there are existing marine hatchery operations,such as for shrimp or milkfish. By definition, small-scale hatcheries do not have broodstock facilities, so a supply of fertilised eggs (usually from a larger hatchery) is essential. Access to fertilised eggs and experienced hatchery staff will limit the application of small-scale hatchery technology. Despite this, there is considerable potential for this technology to be widely adopted.

This guide has been written by a team of experts in marine finfish aquaculture who have been involved in a multinational collaborative research project since 1999.

The research project, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), has made an important contribution to improving the sustainability of marine finfish aquaculture by improving hatchery production of high-value species, particularly groupers.

Further details of research undertaken as part of project FIS/97/73 Improved hatchery and grow-out technology for grouper aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region are available from the project website: