Aquarium successfully hatches, rears Arctic cod
For the first time in North America, the Vancouver Aquarium has successfully hatched and reared several hundred Arctic cod to the juvenile stage over a period of six months.
The aquarium, which made the announcement on Tuesday, said the health of Arctic cod population is a clear indication of the overall health of the Arctic ecosystem; the fish a key link in the Arctic food chain and a primary food source for Arctic char, Greenland halibut, Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod as well as narwhals, belugas and ringed seals.
But studying Arctic cod is difficult because the fish is extremely challenging to access, living under the ice for about nine months a year in the remote waters of Northern Canada. The fish is also difficult to farm.
“Rearing Arctic cod is a delicate and intensive process, and the early development stages are critical to the livelihood of the cod,” said Danny Kent, curator at the Vancouver Aquarium. “The Arctic cod larvae and eggs are extremely fragile and require meticulous and constant expert care to thrive. Successfully bringing the larvae to the juvenile stage could be a stepping stone to future research on this very important species.”
“The Arctic is one of the world’s regions where the impact of climate change is greatest,” added Dr. John Nightingale, president and CEO of the Vancouver Aquarium. “The ability to rear Arctic cod in a controlled setting opens the door to research that has not been feasible in the past.”