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Rearing diet may determine fish restocking success: a case study of hatchery-reared juvenile meagre, Argyrosomus regius
María del Mar Gil, Miquel Palmer, María Dolores Hernández, Amalia Grau, Juana Durán, Benjamín García García, Miguel Jover, Elena Pastor

The resilience of released hatchery-reared specimens increases with age and size, but production costs are also greater for these individuals. Therefore, for a given budget, the consequences of increasing age and size impose a trade-off between producing a large number of vulnerable (small) fish or a small number of resilient (large) fish. Once the optimal size for releasing fish has been defined, the choice of rearing protocol will determine the number and quality of the fish that can be released. In this study, different rearing protocols were compared using meagre juveniles (Argyrosomus regius), which are presently the target of a restocking programme conducted in the Balearic Islands (western Mediterranean). Seven different diets were compared during the grow-out phase to identify the diets that produced good-quality juveniles of a given size at the lowest cost. Most of the diets produced juveniles of suitable biological quality in terms of growth, fish condition (relationships between length and total weight, liver weight and mesenteric fat weight) and tissue biochemical composition. A semi-moist diet (Diet G) provided the best growth rate, closely followed by commercial meagre pellets (Diet A). In contrast, the cost of growing fish with Diet A was lower for any possible size at release. This study demonstrates the need to consider both growth rate and production cost to select the rearing protocol that maximizes the number of juveniles that can be produced for a given budget and desired release size. These considerations will ultimately increase the chance of success of restocking programmes.

Keywords: Argyrosomus regius; restocking programme; production cost; fish quality; diet
Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 79(4) : 431-441 Back PDF
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