|This proposal has as its overall objective to improve larviculture of marine fish in the EU aquaculture industry. At present, marine fish larvae are mostly bred by the traditional 'intensive"" system that includes the use of enriched brine shrimp (Artermia spp.) as main live prey in the larval stage, despite the fact that this food source is expensive and not optimal for fish larvae. One major objective is therefore to facilitate the use of marine copepods, which are known to be the natural food source of fish larvae with high nutritious value. The specific objectives are (1) to identify Atlantic and Mediterranean copepod species with high reproduction and nutritious value, (2) develop copepod culturing techniques to sustain high egg production, (3) develop protocols to induce production of copepod resting eggs and their storage. Finally, the objective is to explore the possibilities for producing a number of economically important marine fish species using copepods as live food.
Description of the work
The work will be organised into 5 work packages.
One work package (WP1) is devoted to identification of copepod species suitable for use as cultivated live food organisms in marine larviculture (e.g. species that secure high survival and good growth, normal pigmentation and development of the fish larvae).
In WP2 a technological manual will be delivered on how to culture selected copepod species, initially in laboratory cultures, but eventually under large-scale facilities. Further, it will be explored which environmental cues can induce adult female copepods to produce resting eggs.
In WP3 physiological and biochemical aspects of copepod resting eggs will he explored, including a mapping of biochemical and morphological diapause markers, with the aim to develop feasible techniques to break the diapause without reducing the performance of hatched nauplii.
In WP4 studies will be carried out exploring the effects that various preservation techniques may have on hatching rate, viability and nutritional value of eggs and hatched nauplii of copepods. The preservation techniques must ensure that nauplii hatched from preserved resting eggs are able to grow, reach adulthood and reproduce sufficiently to initiate productive cultures at the fish farms.
The deliverables of WP2 and WP4 will be exploited in WP5. Here, SMEs will initiate copepod cultures, in either intensive indoor systems or semi-intensive outdoor systems, for the production of high quality fish fry.
The final delivery is a technology for culture and preservation of copepod eggs used in the aquaculture industry.
M1: Identification, collection and culture of relevant copepod species
M2: Manual on intensive and semi-extensive culture of copepods
M3: Techniques for inducing production of resting eggs and breaking of diapause
M4: Technical solutions for storage of copepod resting eggs
M5: manual on fish fry production using copepods
M6: Final report on the use of copepods in larviculture of marine fish Exploitation of results by marketing high-quality juveniles and preserved copepod eggs.