Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture

image from www.fao.orgPatrick Lavens and Patrick Sorgeloos, from the Laboratory of Aquaculture and Artemia Reference Center at the University of Ghent, in Belgium have edited a technical paper entitled Manual on the Production and Use of Live Food for Aquaculture. It is available as a free download.

The topics comprehensively covered include micro algae, rotifers, artemia, zooplankton, cladocerans (daphnia and moina), nematodes and trochophora larvae.

From the introduction:

Whereas in the 1970s the production of farmed marine finfish and shrimp relied almost exclusively on the capture of wild fry for subsequent stocking and on-growing in ponds, tanks or cages, the complete domestication of many marine and brackishwater aquaculture species was only achieved during the last two decades. However, since then the controlled production of larvae from captive broodstock, or in other words the hatchery production of fry, has now become a routine operation for most cultivated fish and shellfish species; billions of fish and shellfish larvae (i.e. bivalve molluscs, penaeid shrimp, salmonids, European seabass, Gilthead seabream etc.) currently being produced within hatcheries all over the world.

The cultivation of larvae is generally carried out under controlled hatchery conditions and usually requires specific culture techniques which are normally different from conventional nursery and grow-out procedures, and especially with respect to husbandry techniques, feeding strategies, and microbial control. The main reason for this is that the developing larvae are usually very small, extremely fragile, and generally not physiologically fully developed. For example, their small size (ie. small mouth size), the uncompleted development of their perception organs (ie. eyes, chemoreceptors) and digestive system, are limiting factors in proper feed selection and use during the early first-feeding or start-feeding period. Moreover, in species such as shrimp, these are not the only problems as the developing larvae also have to pass through different larval stages, eventually changing from a herbivorous filter feeding behaviour to a carnivorous hunting behaviour. It is perhaps not surprising therefore that larval nutrition, and in particular that of the sensitive first-feeding larvae, has become one of the major bottlenecks preventing the full commercialization of many farmed fish and shellfish species.

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