Project to breed 'super' snapper in New Zealand

The government has approved a project to breed a snapper that is more resistant to disease, grows faster, and can thrive in warmer water.

Seafood production scientist Maren Wellenreuther and her team have developed accelerated breeding techniques for snapper using automated trait measurement methods and genomic technologies, as part of a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-funded programme. Credits: Plant & Food Research
April 2, 2024

A new project to breed “super” snapper that is more resistant to disease, grows faster, and can thrive in warmer water could help drive more economic growth through aquaculture, New Zealand’s Oceans and Fisheries Minister, Shane Jones, announced.

“The potential here goes far beyond growing a better and more resilient breed of fish, it also supports our efforts to grow and future-proof New Zealand’s aquaculture. Climate change is affecting the condition of our oceans, and this project is a practical response by a key industry to that change,” Jones said.

Plant and Food Research (PFR), a crown research institute, will lead the project at a pilot-scale aquaculture farm being developed in Marlborough.

“Research that is focused on expanding and improving farmed fish species is very welcome and should be encouraged and supported,” Jones said. “Growing aquaculture is a win for all New Zealanders. It provides jobs and economic growth for the regions and increases export potential for the country. This Coalition Government wants to see aquaculture grow into a multibillion-dollar industry.”

“I’m pleased by the innovation and progress I’ve seen in aquaculture in recent months. This project, and the recent final approval for New Zealand King Salmon’s Blue Endeavour project, shows the aquaculture industry is up to the challenge of climate change, and keen to grow an aquaculture sector for the future,” Jones concluded.