• Projects
  • Development and optimization of grow out diets for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria).


Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Environmental and Fisheries Sciences EFS - Aquaculture; EFS - Marine Fish and Shellfish Biology


Sablefish Feed Development
Development and optimization of grow out diets for sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria).
Our experience with juvenile sablefish and long term rearing of broodstock indicate that salmon grower feeds currently used by commercial sablefish farmers for grow out are not optimally formulated to support maximum growth and efficient feed conversion. However, there are no published studies examining the effects of dietary nutrient balance on productive performance and growth at any post larval life-history stage for this species, and there are currently no commercial diets specifically formulated for sablefish in the marketplace. Because of the large impact of feed cost on the economic viability of farming sablefish, we are focusing on grow out diets intended for use during the post larval stages of development when the fish are being reared to harvest size.
In this research, we use a novel statistical mixture model and response surface analysis method to determine the optimal level of dietary protein, lipid and digestible carbohydrate for testing. This approach permits simultaneous testing of diet formulations encompassing the full range of protein, lipid and digestible carbohydrate that can be produced commercially using today’s most advanced extrusion feed manufacturing technology.

Research Themes

Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Effective fisheries management provides economic opportunities and ensures the long-term sustainability of fisheries and the habitats on which they depend. The NWFSC seeks to improve the quality and quantity of data used in stock assessments, the methods for assessing stocks and ecosystem sustainability within the context of human modification of the environment. The NWFSC also provides state-of-the-art science and technology to support aquaculture while protecting and maintaining ecosystem health. Further, pathogens, toxins from harmful algal blooms (HABs), chemical contaminants and other stressors of marine ecosystems pose significant risks to health of both seafood resources and to humans. The NWFSC focuses on research to improve understanding of those risks, how to forecast them, and identify means to mitigate their impacts.

Research Foci

Develop research and technology to foster innovative and sustainable approaches to aquaculture
The NOAA Aquaculture Policy calls for enabling sustainable aquaculture that provides domestic jobs, products, and services and that is in harmony with healthy, productive, and resilient marine ecosystems. To achieve these goals, NWFSC’s research examines scientific and technical issues to support aquaculture production. NWFSC research also considers potential impacts of aquaculture practices on the environment and on wild populations of fish and shellfish and methods for diminishing those impacts. Specific research objectives include (1) identify methods for reducing reliance on forage fish protein and oil in aquaculture feeds; this includes the evaluation of plant and microbe-based alternatives for fish meal and oil, because fishmeal and oil used in producing artificial fish diets is unsustainable and often a source of contaminants, (2) evaluate and model potential genetic impacts of aquaculture escapes on natural populations, (3) develop shellfish research that will support regional initiatives, such as the Washington Shellfish Initiative, especially native shellfish restoration and (4) develop new marine species for aquaculture and shore-based marine recirculating aquaculture systems.


The culture of fish, aquatic invertibrates, and aquatic plants for the production of food
new formulations for future industry growth
common name for Anoplopoma fimbria. Other common names include black cod and butterfish.


Fish and husbandry data
Data on water temperatures, growth, feed consumption and growth of fish
Oral or poster presentation of results
Results presented at professional conference or workshop
Results of research published in peer reviewed journal


Species Anoplopoma fimbria


Adam Luckenbach
Principal Investigator
Edward Hayman
Rick Goetz
Internal Collaborator
Sean Oden
William Fairgrieve
Principal Investigator