Domestication and Breeding of Northern Lumpfish to Accelerate Commercialization and Use for Sea Lice Biocontrol in the Northeast US

Lead PI: Stephen Eddy

PI Email:

Co-PI: Elizabeth Fairchild, University of New Hampshire

Project Team: Stephen Eddy, University of Maine CCAR; Benjamin Reed, University of Maine CCAR; Christopher Bartlett, University of Maine Sea Grant; Elizabeth Fairchild, University of New Hampshire; Andrew Swanson, Cooke Aquaculture; Bill Kelleher, Kennebec River Biosciences; Michael Pietrak, USDA ARS

Abstract: This project establishes captive breeding colonies of lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus from wild stocks, to be bred for hatchery production by the University of Maine, Cooke Aquaculture, and research partners including the USDA NCWMAC and the University of New Hampshire. Lumpfish young-of-the-year juveniles will be captured by the University of Maine Center for Cooperative Aquaculture Research (CCAR) from the wild from northern and southern regions of the Gulf of Maine to maximize genetic diversity. The fish will be acclimated to captivity at the CCAR and grown to reproductive maturity.  Fish will be screened throughout the project for pathogens and to determine baseline microbial communities. The project seeks to optimize post-capture survival, acclimatization, and spawning SOPs for survival and reproductive success.  The reproductive timing of mature Broodstocks will be advanced and synchronized using lighting and temperature regimes to optimize spawning and egg collection for hatchery production.  During hatchery production, husbandry methods will be refined and optimized to improve survival and fitness of lumpfish juveniles.  The juveniles will be transferred to industry partner Cooke Aquaculture for deployment in salmon pens as cleaner fish, to remove parasitic sea lice from the farmed salmon.  

Project Dates: July 2022 – June 2025

Project Funding: US Dept. of Commerce NOAA Sea Grant