The ARCTAQUA project will work for the development of four species farming in Arctic region: the whitefishes, European whitefish and nelma , the spotted wolffish, and the Arctic char.

European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus)


In monetary value, European whitefish Coregonus lavaretus is the second most valuable farmed species in Finland after rainbow trout. In the ARCTAQUA, we will develop state of art practices for broodstock management, and in cross country co-operation, assess genetic diversity of Coregonus species for stock identification.

Nelma (Stenodus leucichthys nelma)

Nelma inhabits different rivers flowing into the Arctic Ocean. In the European part of Russia the distribution reaches the Kola Peninsula. The main populations of nelma inhabit the basins of the Pechora and Northern Dvina Rivers. However, their numbers have sharply been reduced and the European strains of nelma are in the Russian Red Book for endangered species.

European nelma is a large freshwater predator, reaching up to 40 Kg or more. Nelma feeds in the down stream and estuaries where salinities can go up to 20-30 ‰. Its spawning locations are rivers headwaters and lakes. There are also some lake strains. Nelma matures at 10-15 years and presents a relatively high fecundity 80-250 thousand eggs. Eggs are relatively small compared with other salmonids – 2-2.6 mm.

Because its high nutritional value and market price, nelma is considered a promising aquaculture species. Its meat is the most high-calorie among whitefishes – 1900 kcal / Kg. Nelma from the Kubensky Lake is the most appropriate strain for cage farming due to the high growth rate (mature fish increases more than 1 kg per year), early maturation – 4 + -5 +, high fecundity – about 130 thousand eggs, and easily adaption to artificial feeds.

Nelma investigations in the ARCTAQUA project are aimed  to resolve actual problems of its commercial cultivation and broodstocks management: the development of diets for spawners in order to improve the quality of eggs and offspring; improving the nelma cultivation technology; expanding knowledge for disease prevention of whitefishes in aquaculture and; creating histological atlas of embryonic development.


Spotted wolffish (Anarhichas minor)

Spotted wolffish has been consider for a long time a potential species for cold-water marine aquaculture. It is now commercially produced on a small scale with future expansion dependent on tackling the remaining bottlenecks related with its production. In the ARCTAQUA we will be optimizing the start-feeding conditions, developing on-growth diets and the development of protocols for  preventive health care and disease treatment.


Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus)

Photo credit: Jörgen Wiklund
Photo credit: Jörgen Wiklund

Arctic char is a species of paramount importance for the aquaculture industry particularly in the arctic region with significant potential of further expansion. Furthermore, through its Holarctic distribution in both marine and freshwater environments it is essential for the sustainability of the arctic ecosystems. A main hurdle for the expansion of the aquaculture industry of Arctic char is due to its decreased fertility over the years compared to other farmed salmonids. In ARCTAQUA we will apply state of the art genomic technologies for understanding the genetic components influencing the fertility of Arctic char, develop better fertilization techniques and develop technology for its production in recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS).