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Breeding & Genetics

Huntsman is uniquely situated as the only institution in Atlantic Canada, and likely across Canada, that has the experience and capacity to design and manage comprehensive commercially relevant aquatic animal broodstock programs. Our holistic broodstock development approach provides a significant opportunity for the Huntsman to have a measureable impact on local and international aquaculture operations.


Dr. Amber Garber provides scientific direction of Huntsman Breeding & Genetics. Amber has been involved in aquaculture and wild fisheries research since 1998 having completed her MSc (University of Southern Mississippi) working on red snapper stock enhancement in the Gulf of Mexico and PhD (North Carolina State University) to advance the hybrid striped bass aquaculture sector. Her research at the Huntsman has focused on Atlantic salmon, Arctic charr, rainbow trout, lumpfish as cleanerfish, Atlantic cod, and sturgeon species. Amber was honoured in 2016 as a recipient of the New Brunswick R3 Innovator Award for her scientific leadership in the Atlantic salmon selective breeding program at the Huntsman alongside industry partner Northern Harvest Sea Farms (today Mowi Canada East). Our Breeding & Genetics effort is supported by an incredible team of technical staff who have decades of experience, often from a commercial production setting, to maintain, handle and assess aquatic individuals as required to collect robust datasets to advance broodstock programs. Huntsman technical staff frequently travel to farm sites elsewhere to complete extensive sampling events that are often associated with spawning, individual fish PIT tagging, sexing by ultrasound, and comprehensive harvest evaluations. 

If you are inspired to support Huntsman Breeding & Genetics research, advancement of food production, or graduate student research at Huntsman then please donate or choose other ways to support the Huntsman mission today!



Our partnership with Huntsman adds a great deal of knowledge and talent to Mowi’s already impressive global research and development capacity. Working in partnership, Mowi and Huntsman are doing genetic selection work to produce the most robust fish for future generations.

INSITE – Mowi Canada East Newsletter
9th Edition – October 7, 2020 

Broodstock Program Design

Broodstock Program Services

Controlled Challenges

Production Capacity


Example Projects

Collaborations with Academia

Selected Recent Publications

Broodstock Program Design

Aquaculture production lags land-based food production in applying methods for deliberate genetic selection of individuals and families displaying favorable performance with commercially relevant production and fitness traits. Our team has tremendous experience to assess your breeding goals and capacity such that a suitable broodstock program is tailor made to meet your specific needs and budget. We have applied our proven SCORE approach across numerous species (e.g., rainbow trout, Arctic charr, sturgeon spp. and shellfish spp.) over the past several years when designing specific broodstock programs, including:

  • State of Knowledge review related to existing broodstock programs and genomics 

    • A literature review detailing research related to your species and heritabilities, genetic and phenotypic correlations, breeding programs and published genomic markers.


  • Consultation with industry partners (wants & needs)

    • Arguably the most important step involves open discussions with key individuals within your organization to determine desired outcomes from a broodstock program, including breeding goals, ranking specific traits, and building rapport between the breeding team and Sponsor for open communication.


  • Operational site visit

    • Another critical step involves site visits to better understand the present operations and ensure only viable broodstock program options are recommended based on the facilities, staff capabilities and overall capacity available.


  • Recommendations to implement a broodstock program

    • A description of possible broodstock program strategies will be detailed and options to measure performance of individuals across the range of traits of interest.


  • Execute for project success

    • The execution phase will touch on possible funding models and funding sources that may be approached to move the broodstock program forward to the next stage toward implementation and realizing gains from genetic selection.

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