Greater Amberjack Research
The ‘Amberjack Project’
The Greater amberjack has a very high commercial value in Europe as well as in Asia, and has a huge potential for aquaculture and MFF remain interested in developing commercially viable rearing technologies. MFF started developing a broodstock for the Greater Amberjack in the year 2001, when young wild juveniles were caught and reared in the floating cages in Marsaxlokk Bay. Over four years these matured into broodstock and after the first successful egg collection in 2005, MFF embarked on a joint venture with the Government of Malta through the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre (MAR). This venture, known as The Amberjack Project went on for ten years, until 2016, where research was carried out on all aspects of amberjack closed cycle aquaculture, from broodstock development to spawning, egg collection, hatching, larval rearing, juvenile rearing and on-growing to adult marketable fish. Research included studies on nutrition of the fish at all stages, rearing techniques, survival and growth.
This project was based at MAR within Fort San Lucjan which houses the only pilot marine hatchery in Malta.
Since 2005, there have been year on year successes in the areas studied and this project remains to be one of the most successful in Europe for the captive reproduction and rearing of the Greater Amberjack.
Top quality broodstock that produce around 800,000 to 1 million viable eggs per female were reared in captivity; with a juvenile production of 100,000 fingerlings from the small pilot hatchery with a total larval tank volume of only 45m3 (MFF, unpublished data).
Fertilized eggs of amberjacks as seen under the microscope.
Amberjack fingerlings produced during the Amberjack Project.
Harvested amberjacks from Amberjack Project trials.