Purple urchin aquaculture: roe enhancement


Marine aquaculture has struggled to achieve significant growth in the US for a variety of reasons and is contributing far below its’ recognized potential (Froehlich, et al., 2017; Knapp, 2016). One area for potential aquaculture expansion in the Western US is urchin ranching, specifically enhancement of roe quantity and quality through ranching of purple sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus).

Goals and Objectives: 

Our project aims to accomplish 3 goals with 6 supporting objectives to support developing urchin roe enhancement for west coast operators. All objectives have outreach and extension components.

Goal 1) Developing an enhanced open source feed formulation

  • Objective 1: Refine dietary nutrient ratios for maximized gonad development in the purple urchin
  • Objective 2: Refine the dietary ingredient matrix for enhanced roe quality to meet market demands.

    Objective 3: Assess the utility and practical application of pairing a finishing diet with the formulated purple urchin diet

Goal 2) Determining gametogenesis spawning cues/conditions and mitigation measures to increase roe quality

  • Objective 4: Assess environmental factors resulting in gametogenesis and spawning.
  • Objective 5: Determine suitability of combined mitigation measures to halt unwanted gametogenesis.

Goal 3) Perform outreach and extension to stakeholders to communicate the project's findings and develop a community of practice for west coast urchin ranching.

  • Objective 6: Conduct industry pilot trials to field test technology


Project Summary

Duration: 3 years
Funded Date: 09/01/2023
Funding level: $381,370
Location: California - CA, Idaho - ID, Oregon - OR
Species: Shellfish
Topics: Culture, Culture/egg quality, Hatchery, Systems

University of Washington
School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences

Box 355020, Seattle, WA 98195
1122 NE Boat St, Seattle, WA 98105


Grants and Funding