System developed for optimising juvenile fish production

September 17, 2012
System developed for optimising juvenile fish production
Credit: Thinkstock

A European project, ALFA, has developed a state-of-the-art automatic system to control the most important variable parameters in live feed production for fish hatcheries. The systems were geared to suit conditions for aquaculture in Greece and Norway.

Fish hatcheries supply (and shellfish and crustaceans) for the . They are important economically as they provide opportunities for of broodstock, are productive out of season and avoid dependency on juveniles caught from the wild.

The availability of live food organisms in the water determines the success of . Formulated feeds cannot sustain the food requirements of the fish so micro-algae are cultured in hatcheries. Among the most important parameters regulating algal growth are nutrients, temperature and light.

As the use of manpower is expensive and prone to error, the EU project ALFA aimed to develop fully automated systems, one for northern Europe powered by electricity and another for more southerly countries supported by solar powered units.

Both photobioreactors are designed for the stable growth of algae by using illumination and control of other variables including , pH and water carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration. The project team also developed a novel optical algal monitoring system to ascertain quality and growth rate of the algae.

Added value came with several features. The system was linked to a newly developed continuous rotifer production system (CROPS). Rotifers are zooplankton and therefore will provide an additional source of food for the juveniles. An automatic was also incorporated so algal food can be controlled and maintained at levels of usage or the excess stored.

Two full-scale complete systems were built and tested in Greece and Norway. Not only was performance evaluated but adaptations were made to optimise output according to local conditions. The data were then compared with a stochastic model incorporating the random variables.

Aquaculture is a highly important sector in the European economy, providing jobs and revenue and aiding conservation of fish species. Deliverables from ALFA optimise conditions for live food production for fish hatcheries as well as reduce manpower requirements.

Explore further: Researchers alarmed by levels of mercury and arsenic in Chinese freshwater ecosystem

Related Stories

Aquaculture's growth seen as continuing

January 2, 2009

Aquaculture production of seafood will probably remain the most rapidly increasing food production system worldwide through 2025, according to an assessment published in the January 2009 issue of BioScience. The assessment, ...

Alternative fish feeds use less fishmeal and fish oils

October 13, 2010

As consumers eat more fish as part of a healthy diet, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are helping producers meet this demand by developing new feeds that support sustainable aquaculture production.

Seafood, wild or farmed? The answer may be both

August 6, 2012

– Most people think of seafood as either wild or farmed, but in fact both categories may apply to the fish you pick up from your grocery store. In recent years, for example, as much as 40 percent of the Alaskan salmon ...

Recommended for you

Genomes uncover life's early history

August 24, 2015

A University of Manchester scientist is part of a team which has carried out one of the biggest ever analyses of genomes on life of all forms.

Rare nautilus sighted for the first time in three decades

August 25, 2015

In early August, biologist Peter Ward returned from the South Pacific with news that he encountered an old friend, one he hadn't seen in over three decades. The University of Washington professor had seen what he considers ...

Why a mutant rice called Big Grain1 yields such big grains

August 24, 2015

(Phys.org)—Rice is one of the most important staple crops grown by humans—very possibly the most important in history. With 4.3 billion inhabitants, Asia is home to 60 percent of the world's population, so it's unsurprising ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.