Black sea bass (Centropristis striata)

Black sea bass  - photo by Wayne Davis EPA at Baltimore Aquarium - image from F. Cotton has published a 2002 MSc thesis entitled Optimizing Growth for Aquaculture of Juvenile Black Sea Bass Centropristis Striata L. : Effects Of Temperature, Salinity, Commercial Diet and Feeding Ration. The abstract notes:

A new market has emerged for live black sea bass, Centropristis striata L., in fish markets of the northeast United States and Canada. Efforts to culture black sea bass have been hampered by the lack of information regarding optimal grow-out conditions. This research was designed to determine optimal commercial diet, feeding ration, temperature, and salinity for growth of hatchery-reared, juvenile black sea bass. Optimal diet was Zeigler Salmon Starter (compared to Nelson and Son’s Silver Cup Salmon Crumbles, Trout Crumbles, and Rangen Trout and Salmon Starter). Optimal daily feeding ration was 5% (compared to 2.5% and 7.5%). Optimal water temperature was 25º C (compared to 15º C, 20º C, and 30º C), and optimal salinity was 20 ppt or 30 ppt (compared to 10 ppt). Additionally, growth rates, feed conversion ratio, and mortality were calculated in each experiment. This information will be a valuable guide for culturing juvenile black sea bass.

The Marine Resources Research Institute notes that the first reported spawning of black sea bass occurred in 1884 with fish captured off South Carolina and shortly afterwards, ripe fish captured off Massachusetts were spawned. Since then there has been increasing information developed on the culture of this typical reef dwelling species. It is unclear if the 1884 date is correct. There is no doubt about the value of the species, and the, as yet undeveloped, potential for aquaculture.

Randal L. Walker and Deborah A. Moroney from the Shellfish Aquaculture Laboratory, Marine Extension Service, University of Georgia, USA; have published their findings entitled Growth of juvenile black sea bass, Centropristis striata, fed either a commercial salmon or trout diet. They observe:

An opportunity exists to expand Georgia’s commercial fishery by developing aquaculture techniques for the black sea bass, Centropristis striata. Black sea bass fillets sell for $1.25 to $1.50 per 0.45 kg wholesale. However, live, 0.9 to 1.13 kg fish are sold on the sushi market at a wholesale price of $3.50 to $8.00 per 0.45 kg. Little biological information exists concerning the culture of this potential aquaculture species. Six 600-L tanks on a flow-through system were stocked with 12 juvenile fish each (ranging in total length from 153 to 235 mm). Fish were pot-trapped from an offshore population. Tanks (3 for each diet) were randomly assigned a diet of either a commercial trout or salmon chow. Fish were fed a two percent daily ration (grams dry weight of food to grams wet weight of fish). Rations were adjusted biweekly to account for fish weight increases per treatment. Fish fed the salmon chow were significantly heavier after 10 weeks (P = 0.0209) and after 14 weeks (P = 0.0003) than fish fed the trout chow. Fish fed trout chow increased from 196 grams to 304 grams (55% increase) in 14 weeks, while fish fed the salmon chow increased from 163 grams to 386 grams (137% increase). Based upon fish growth and cost of feed, salmon chow is the preferred diet over trout chow for rearing black sea bass.

Again, from the Shellfish Aquaculture Laboratory, Marine Extension Service, University of Georgia, USA; Richard W. Kupfer, Dorset H. Hurley and Randal L. Walker have published their findings entitled A Comparison of Six Diets on the Growth of Black Sea Bass, Centropristis striata, in an Aquacultural Environment. The abstract notes:

Two studies of juvenile black sea bass, Centropristis striata, were conducted to address questions concerning the biological feasibility of aquaculture of C. striata. Juvenile C. striata and rock sea bass, C. philadelphica, were trapped inshore, while sub-adult C. striata were trapped in nearshore waters of coastal Georgia, south of Savannah. Catch composition of inshore trapping was dominated by Centropristis philadelphica (80%). Few C. striata were caught. A comparative growth study of juvenile C. philadelphica and C. striata fed a 3% daily ration (gram dry weight feed/gram wet weight of fish) was performed over 27 days. Overall juvenile C. striata mean increase in growth was 42% ± 5.3% (SE), with 10% mortality; whereas, C. philadelphica mean growth was 14% ± 4.7%, with 65% mortality.

Sub-adult C. striata (164 g mean weight ± 1.74) were subjected to six ration treatments for 18 weeks. Three replicate 500-L tanks were used per treatment, and each tank was stocked with 15 fish. Ration treatments consisted of a high-protein trout feed, a lower-protein trout feed, and an equal mixture of both delivered daily in rations of 2% and 3% dry weight feed/wet weight fish. All rations were adjusted biweekly based upon mean fish wet weight per treatment. At week 16, ANOVA revealed no significant differences (p=0.4096) in mean fish weight among treatments with a pooled treatment mean fish weight increase of 48%. Based on cost effectiveness, the lower-protein 2% ration was judged the optimum choice among the diets tested. This study reinforces the biological feasibility of rearing trapped C. striata on a commercial diet of 2% dry weight feed/wet weight fish.

Further, from the Shellfish Aquaculture Laboratory, Marine Extension Service, University of Georgia, USA; Alan Power, Tiffany Lee, Todd Recicar, Mary Sweeney-Reeves, and Randal L. Walker have published their findings entitled The Growth and survival of juvenile black sea bass, Centropristis striata, on an artificial (Salmon chow) versus a natural (grass shrimp) diet. The abstract notes:

This study examined growth and survival rates of juvenile black sea bass Centropristis striata (Linnaeus, 1758), that were fed two distinct dietary treatments, – one, a commercially available salmon chow and the other a diet consisting of natural live grass shrimp (Palaemonetes pugio, Holthuis, 1949). The diets were fed at a 2.5% ration (grams dry weight of food/ grams wet weight of fish). Fish were reared in replicated (N=3 per dietary treatment) 65-liter flow-through tanks for six weeks between May 7 and June 25, 2001. The fish provided with live shrimp had a mean survival of 69 ± 5.9% and increased in size from an initial mean wet weight of 20.7 grams to 30.4 grams – a growth rate of 0.194 grams per day. A higher mean survival of 80 ± 6.7% and a slightly lower growth rate of 0.184 grams per day (mean wet weight increase from 20.4 grams to 29.6 grams) were recorded for fish fed the salmon pellet diet. However, there were no statistically significant differences detected in either growth (p=0.7849) or percent survival (p=0.4999) between dietary treatments. Based on these results, we recommend using the commercially available salmon chow because of its convenience and supplementing it occasionally with grass shrimp to provide essential amino acids common in natural diets.

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