Project: Preserved zooplankton as a diet for marine aquaculture species

In the marine aquaculture industry, first feeding of early stages of fish are characterized by high mortality, deformations and sub-optimal growth which limit the overall production. One of the major reasons is inadequate nutritional value of both live feed organisms (rotifers/Artemia) and commercial diets, and low feeding incidence of weaning diets. Laboratory-scale feeding trials with larvae of seabream, common sole, Atlantic cod and Amphibrion clarkii using the experimental diet from Planktonic AS documents up to 100 % higher growth and survival, 3.5 times higher stress-tolerance and 50 % reduction in mal-pigmentation compared to standard live feed diets (Olivotto et al. Aquaculture 2010 and unpublished data). Today, no inert food particles on the market can successfully replace the use of live food for marine fish larvae. However, the new diet has documented a full replacement of live feed in feeding trials with high growth performances._x000D__x000D_This projects primary objective is to establish a feeding protocol for optimal use of the novel diet at marine hatcheries, and involves well established and more challenging marine aquaculture species. Planktonic has methods for harvesting and preserving the natural diet most marine larval species is evolutionary adapted to, which are marine planktonic copepods (marine zooplankton). The patent pending method involved, ensure the original nutrient profile of copepods. Planktonic's expertise on harvesting copepods makes them a reliable supplier of biomass for production of food for marine larviculture. Copepods represent a huge bio-resource and display the highest biomass of metazoans on earth. _x000D__x000D_Wild copepods vary biochemically during season, and may affect the performances of the diet. The project intends to characterize the raw material for feed production from early spring through summer until fall, and document possible variation in chemical composition. _x000D__x000D_Following the live feed period, the marine larvae are weaned onto dry feed. Planktonic is expecting to take relatively large market shares also from this segment, as the novel diet is different than other microdiets, which applies to characteristics such as high nutritional quality, low leakage of nutrients and low sinking velocity. Accordingly, Planktonic feed is both an alternative to live and dry feed in marine larviculture. The new diet is a soft feed in comparison to competing products that normally is dry. This is advantageous because it might not dehydrate parts of the sensitive gut of the marine larvae._x000D__x000D_SPAROS Lda will develop and test a copepod-enriched dry feed to be used as a follow-up regime for fish (post-larvae and fry) to complete the Planktonic product concept. Small scale feeding trials by the use of the Planktonic and the SPAROS diet will be performed in addition to long term industrial-scale experiments to study effects of the bred species in terms of growth, survival, stress-tolerance, malpigmentation and deformations. _x000D__x000D_Technical aspects related to feeding systems will be developed and the aim is a continuous supply of food particles to the fish species in question. Experiments will also be performed on recycling of food in breeding tanks, as the new diet have extremely low leakage of nutrients compared to commercial diets. Recycling will contribute to a significant reduction of food waste and improved profitability for hatcheries._x000D__x000D_The study of market potential and entrance of the final product will be studied with regard to aquaculture and the fast growing ornamental fish market, both in EU and world-wide. Breeding of ornamental species is predicted to be important in the coming years, because wild catch will be restricted in the future._x000D__x000D_Planktonic and SPAROS can enter a multi-billion market world-wide. If the project does succeed, it will lead to a giant step for the aquaculture industry, because the bottle-neck of first feeding will be solved, and the production potential of the marine species can be fully exploited. Market shares are expected to be taken from industrial aquaculture and feed for ornamentals, and the former has the largest potential in profitability terms but the latter market has also a surprisingly high turnover globally._x000D__x000D_The Ps SINTEF F&H and IPIMAR are both reputable research institutes with qualifications necessary for the completion of the project. The P SPAROS is a producer of larval feed, which has both expertise on fish feeding experiments and the production of diets. The sub-contractor Oce.An does genetical studies on fish larvae related to growth, stress-tolerance and precursors for pigmentation which is quite unique in the EU's R&D sector. Codfarmers, Hellenic fish farms and Marine Harvest Labrus are hatcheries that produce cod, seabream and ballan-wrasse. Large-scale trials will be performed at their facilities. The composition of the consortium is considered to be complementary regarding to technology, know-how and market position._x000D_

Acronym MARAQUAFEED (Reference Number: 6923)
Duration 01/05/2012 - 31/10/2015
Project Topic To develop a protocol for the novel diet to substitute the existing sub-optimal feeding regimes used at marine hatcheries. New feeding systems will be evaluated, and natural variation of plankton characterized. First feeding is a bottle-neck for an economically viable marine aquaculture production.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Sparos Lda Partner Portugal
4 SINTEF Fiskeri og havbruk AS Partner Norway
4 Planktonic AS Coordinator Norway
4 INRB, IP/IPIMAR Partner Portugal