- Miscellaneous: other
- Animal Production: aquaculture
Seaweed and shellfish aquaculture is a fast growing industry in Maine, but most farms rely on only one crop and lack diversification options. Green sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) represent an opportunity for multi-cropping on aquaculture farms, but there is no commercial source of hatchery-raised seed for the new crop. This project proposes to address bottlenecks in the sea urchin hatchery through development of seaweed cultivation systems in a sea urchin research hatchery for a more reliable feed source, and in turn, integrate a sea urchin hatchery system into an existing seaweed nursery to develop a commercial urchin hatchery seed source for sea farmers.
Project objectives from proposal:
This project seeks to improve post settlement success utilizing seaweed feed produced in the sea urchin hatchery. This is a collaborative effort that brings together urchin and seaweed cultivation expertise to improve urchin hatchery systems.
Objective 1: Develop seaweed cultivation systems for a sea urchin hatchery.
Seaweed cultivation systems for sugar kelp and dulse will be established at the CCAR hatchery. This will enable the UM CCAR hatchery to produce high quality, consistent, reliable macroalgal feed to improve their post settlement hatchery techniques.
Objective 2: Test hatchery raised seaweed feed for improved urchin settlement and recruitment rates.
Test availability of hatchery cultivated macroalgal feed on settlement and recruitment compared to the control, which will help inform hatchery protocols and future research.
Objective 3. Develop a sea urchin hatchery at a commercial seaweed nursery.
Knowledge transfer is critical for aquaculture diversification. CCAR sea urchin hatchery techniques will be transferred to the Springtide nursery and a pilot will be run to produce a crop of urchin seed. This work will lay the groundwork for the development of the first commercial urchin hatchery in Maine.