Seafood CRC: prevention and control of maturation to address multiple key abalone production constraints

Project Number:



CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Hobart

Principal Investigator:

Natasha Botwright

Project Status:


FRDC Expenditure:





Maturation is a complex issue with key abalone production issues in; Health There is a concordance between maturation and the spawning process, immune status and pathogen susceptibility. These factors may combine with elevated water temperatures contributing to summer mortalities. Reduced production Gonad is commercially undesirable, as this results in lost opportunity for conversion of feed to growth. Reduced profitability occurs as a result of increases in gonad weight where frozen or canned abalone products are based on meat weight and through decreases in gonad weight due to pre-harvest spawning of live product sold on whole weight. Broodstock conditioning Most farms now utilise closed life cycle breeding. This relies on the use of mass selected or genetically selected broodstock that are ready for synchronised spawning on demand. To make the greatest gains the industry needs to breed from select elite individuals rather than from a select group of abalone. The industry is not able to select an individual with 100% confidence for spawning. Product Quality Animal health provides industry with confidence in their product all year. Currently the industry has reduced confidence in the quality of live abalone exports over the summer. The fragile nature of spawning and maturing animals and the stress involved in transport and holding leads to increased mortality risks during transport. Consequently some exporters reduce or cease exports during this time. The ability to prevent maturation will provide the Australian temperate abalone industry with a competitive edge by reducting mortality, increasing growth and improving delivery of live product to market. Controlling maturation will assist in breeding. The key to achieving these outcomes is to first gain an understanding of the maturation process at the molecular level. This will provide the knowledge to initiate development of new technologies and/or interventional strategies to address these key industry issues.


1. To establish molluscan specific neuropeptide databases that will underpin abalone maturation tissue studies

2. Develop reliable sample collection, preservation, laboratory processing of abalone maturation tissues to ensure optimal analyses by mass spectrometry

3. To undertake mass spectroscopy and bioinformatic analyses of samples to map neuropeptides throughout the maturation cycle in different tissues and stages of maturation

4. Select candidates that may be useful for prevention and control of maturation for validation

5. Select candidates responsible for influencing decreased gamete condition and spawning success over successive seasons

6. Undertake development of a non-destructive sampling technique for monitoring of animal responses to experimental intervention strategies

Seafood CRC: prevention and control of maturation to address multiple key abalone production constraints

Final Report
Date Published:September 2017