SFA’s Marine Aquaculture Centre (MAC), located on St John's Island in the open southern waters of Singapore was established in 2003 to deepen Singapore’s expertise in the areas of aquaculture genetics, nutrition and health. The Centre has a footprint of about 1.8 ha and there are a total of 14 blocks, including purpose-built research facilities, incubation modules and other auxiliary facilities like seawater intake pump house.
(Above) Marine Aquaculture Centre
Research & Development
MAC carries out research and development in tropical aquaculture through partnerships and collaboration with the industry. Their programmes focus on these areas:
- Asian Seabass
Since its setup, MAC has focused on genetics and broodstock development. Through its partnership with Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory (TLL) on Asian seabass selective breeding programme, genetically superior Asian seabass lines that are able to produce seabass fry that grow at least 30% faster than unselected seabass fry have been developed. The breeding programme with TLL utilises aquaculture genomic tools for more accurate selection of superior individuals without the use of genetic modification.
(Above) Examination of Asian seabass broodstock
- Large-scale fry production technology
MAC also undertakes R&D in large-scale hatchery production technology to ensure the long-term sustainable supply of marine fish fry. To date, MAC has successfully transformed hatchery production from an extensive outdoor pond system which requires large footprint and is vulnerable to weather changes to an intensive indoor closed-loop production system which allows large-scale production on a smaller footprint, enables the control of diseases and minimises waste discharges. This has led to 10x improvement in Asian seabass fry survival and 100x intensification over the prevalent outdoor pond system. Hatchery protocols for other key marine fish species such as snapper, pompano and grouper have also been developed. Indoor hatchery production has since been adopted by our local hatcheries & nurseries.
(Above) Transformation of hatchery technology
(Above) Application of Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) in hatchery production
Growing SG’s aquaculture research ecosystem
MAC welcomes research institutes and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) to conduct collaborative R&D projects by contributing our expertise in the areas of fish husbandry such as breeding and live feed and hatchery production. MAC also provides shared facilities such as replicated tank systems for research and incubator space for test-bedding and commercialisation of R&D results. MAC also makes available key biological materials such as eggs, larvae, rotifers and microalgae for aquaculture research. These inputs of husbandry-related expertise, shared facilities and ease of access to biological materials will enable researchers in Singapore to conduct aquaculture R&D and to facilitate the translation.
(Above) Purpose-built aquaculture R&D facility
(Above) Microalgae culture
Besides R&D work, MAC also provides technical support to local farms to adopt sustainable farming practices and technology. Furthermore, MAC also hosts learning journeys for schools, conducts practical sessions and mentors interns from polytechnics and universities.