Possibilities for the production of natural zooplankton for the first feeding of marine larvae




Jónína Þ. Jóhannsdóttir, Rannveig Björnsdóttir

Supported by:

Verkefnasjóður Sjávarútvegsins / Project fund of the Ministry of Fisheries

Possibilities for the production of natural zooplankton for the first feeding of marine larvae

The overall goal of the project is to make an assessment of the possibilities of producing natural zooplankton for use in the early stages of aquaculture in Iceland. The quality and supply of larvae is one of the main problems in aquaculture today. The larvae of most marine fish need live prey when the pre-nutrition of the peritoneum is exhausted, in which case the supply of live feed animals is necessary until the larvae begin to absorb dry food. Domestic farms have primarily used rotifers and artemia that need to be bought from abroad and bred in the farms. There is a lack of the right composition of nutrients in these feed animals compared to zooplankton, which is the natural food of marine fish larvae, and research shows that the use of zooplankton provides increased yields and improved larval growth. The supply of natural zooplankton is seasonal, but the cultivation of various species has been tried in several parts of the world with good results. The results of research indicate that it is possible to cultivate various types of crayfish in sufficient quantities for production for juvenile farms. Many species of plankton are found in the marine ecosystem by the land that could be suitable for aquaculture, such as redfish, A. longiremis and Oithona spp. It is planned to apply for a research grant to the fund for the installation of facilities and experiments with the cultivation of selected species (s) of zooplankton.

The main goal of this project was to evaluate the potential for production of natural zooplankton for production of marine fish larvae in Iceland. Satisfactory quality and survival of larvae are one of the main problems in marine aquaculture. Marine larvae are fed live zooplankton during the first feeding stages, when the contents of the yolk sac are spent. Icelandic producers of marine fish larvae mainly use imported rotifers and Artemia as live feed. Copepods are the main food source of marine fish larvae in their natural environment and previous research indicate that the nutritional value of rotifers and Artemia is not adequate for successful development of the larvae. Successful growth and survival of larvae have been achieved using natural zooplankton. However, seasonal growth of natural zooplankton species prevents their use in commercial production of fish larvae. Copepods have been successfully cultured and there are indications that copepods can be cultured as feed in the production of marine fish larvae on a commercial scale. Various zooplankton species are found in the Icelandic marine ecosystem and that may be ideal candidates for culturing eg Calanus finmarchicus, A. longiremis and Oithona spp. As a next step, we will apply for funding of a larger project where the aim is to develop experimental facilities and carry out experimental cultures of selected species.

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