IntraFish – August 15, 2017

Beaver Street Fisheries subsidiary touts breakthrough in grouper farming.
Tropic Seafood manages to spawn Nassau grouper in tanks for the first time.

After several attempts, Beaver Street Fisheries’ Bahamian subsidiary, Tropic Seafood, finally found a breakthrough in its attempt to farm Nassau grouper.

Jon Chaiton, director of quality assurance at Tropic, said in the past, the company had issues with spawning the grouper naturally and had resorted to inducing them with hormone injections.

In the winter, Nassau grouper congregate and have “spawning aggregations,” Chaiton said, during which they swim in circles and shoot up to the surface and the decreased pressure allows sperm and eggs to be released into the water column.

“They’re doing that in our tanks now,” Chaiton said. “We have a way of controlling this. We’re not able to target specific dates for spawning: We pick a date, we handle them in a certain way and they spawn right on cue.”

This is done without hormone injections or any other physical manipulations, he said and “it works in conjunction with the new moon phase of a lunar cycle, so it’s all natural.”

Tropic Seafood wanted to try out the new technique and tried it this month during the full moon – and had five to six nights of “massive spawning in our tanks, which shows us we can do it year-round,” Chaiton said.

“We weren’t expecting this to work in summer, it’s so off season, so it’s very exciting.”

Chaitin was careful to stress that the grouper project is still in the experimentation and research stage and commercialization is still likely two years off, he said.

Still, “the thing that’s remarkable is the in-house spawn,” he said.
Once up and running, Chaiton expects the biggest markets to be in Asia and other export destinations.