A bottleneck in the development of aquaculture seems to
be the availability of a constant and reliable supply of fingerlings
to commercial aquaculture companies for growing out to market size.
MIT Sea Grant recognized this shortfall and developed Boston's first
marine finfish hatchery. Operations began in 1998 on Pier 3, which
is located in the heart of the historic Navy Yard in Charlestown.
By using the National Park Service’s space, MIT Sea Grant not
only demonstrated urban aquaculture but also showed an efficient
utilization of property formerly devoted to maritime activity. In
2003, MIT Sea Grant’s hatchery moved to the Gloucester Maritime
Sea Grant Hatchery at the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center
The Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center is a grassroots nonprofit
organization that occupies 39,069 square feet overlooking Gloucester
Harbor. This site includes the Gloucester Marine Railway, a 19th
century mill building that housed the equipment to power the railway
and a former icehouse, which has been transformed into a workshop
for building wooden boats. The Center’s three wharves are
the home of several fishing vessels representing different periods
in the evolution of fishing technology. Through the ongoing development
of exhibits and the outdoor aquarium, Sea Pocket, the Center provides
insight into the relationship between the health of the city’s
maritime industrial history and the health of New England fisheries.
The two core
components of Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center’s
mission are to “to champion the preservation of Gloucester’s
maritime industrial history and tradition” and “to
serve as a resource for the study of maritime history, industry
and ecology. See http://www.gloucestermaritimecenter.org for more
moved to Gloucester in the summer of 2003 from the Charlestown
Navy Yard. The new facility has an interpretive
that provides information about aquaculture and our facility.
Visitors can view research and activities of the hatchery via
overlook our recirculating systems.
The hatchery collaborates with the Heritage Center to offer
educational programs that include aquaculture activities.
consists of two independent culture systems, six 100-gallon hatching/larval-rearing
tanks and two 500-gallon
and a live feed culture room. Each system demonstrates state-of-the-art
recirculating technology. Harbor water is pumped in at
high tide, if needed, and filtered and aerated to keep excellent
water quality. Initially
eggs are hatched in the hatching tanks and then the larvae
are fed a live feed diet consisting of zooplankton such as rotifers
Eventually the fish are weaned onto a dry pellet feed that
The live feed culture room consists of 5 tanks and an Artemia
hatching cone. The tanks are used to culture rotifers and
Aretmia that are
fed to the larvae. The Artemia hatching cone is used to hatch
Artemia to feed the older larvae.
The hatching tanks house the fish from hatching until they
grow large enough to be weaned to a dry feed diet. The point
are moved into the grow out systems is dependent on the fish’s
point in the life cycle, which is in turn dependent on the size of
the fish. The hatching tanks are dark so that the amount of light
that gets into the tanks while the fish are hatching can be controlled.
State-of-the-art recirculating technology is
used to filter the water in the hatching tanks.
Once the larvae metamorphose into juveniles, they are weaned
onto a dry pellet diet that is commercially available and
from the larval tanks to the grow-out system. The grow-out
tanks are larger
and allow more space for the fish to grow. The water in the
grow-out tanks is filtered using state-of-the-art
Determining when the fish can handle these changes is key
to rearing a species not previously reared in captivity.
from the hatchery (growth rates, weight, feed conversions,
and environmental conditions) will determine whether or not
commercial potential. The hatchery is involved in several
research projects related to the aquaculture industry.
— Table top recirculating system