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Production of Pacific white shrimp and Sarcocornia ambigua in a marine aquaponic system.

Aquaponics is the integration of aquaculture and hydroponics in a recirculating system. This production model has been successfully developed around the world using freshwater. However, in recent years and due to the development of the cultivation of salinity-tolerant plants, various studies have been carried out to evaluate the production of marine species coupled to halophyte plants.

Researches from the Federal University of Santa Catarina Brazil evaluated the integrated culture of Pacific white shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) and Sarcocornia ambigua in a marine aquaponic system with biofloc. The experimental system consisted of an 800 L culture tank, a 40L conical bottom chamber, and an NFT hydroponic system with 0.4 m2 of planting area. The shrimp culture was stocked at 250 shrimp m-3 and 40 plants were coupled in each system. The experiment was carried out for 74 days.

shrimp halophyte bioflic

The final plant production obtained was 8.2 kg m-2 while the final shrimp biomass was 2.1 kg m-3. The water quality was maintained within the acceptable limits for marine shrimp culture. The recovery of nitrogen supplied to the aquaponic system was higher (39.3%) than a similar system without plants (31.4%).

The proposed system is capable to produce 2 kg of plants for each kilogram of shrimp produced. The present study shows the feasibility of produce shrimp and plants using marine water, while the use of nutrients is improved.

For more details, see: Pinheiro et al. (2017). Production of the halophyte Sarcocornia ambigua and Pacific white shrimp in an aquaponic system with biofloc technology. Ecological Engineering 100, 261-267.

Bait worms: a valuable and important fishery with implications for fisheries and conservation management

The bait which is an integral part of the coastal life is often perceived as a low-value resource due to limited fisheries data, locally focused, and largely unregulated. A wide range of marine invertebrates can be used for bait depending on the season, personal preference, and the species to be caught, but in nearly all locations, intertidal soft-sediment polychaetes are the dominant group collected. Generally, commercial and semi-professional fisheries for polychaete worms supply the regional and international markets for bait worms for recreational fishing. There is also a direct harvest of polychaetes from the wild by recreational fishers which is generally accepted to be a substantial portion of the total harvest. The first global assessment of polychaete bait fisheries was manifested based on an empirical assessment of three UK-based ragworm fisheries combined with an analysis of published literature. According to this assessment, the five most expensive (retail price per kg) marine polychaete species sold on the global fisheries market are (Glycera dibranchiata, Diopatra aciculata, Nereis (Alitta) virens, Arenicola defodiens and Marphysa sanguinea). With approximately 121 000 tonnes of polychaetes collected globally valued at £5.9 billion, it was estimated that 1600 t of N. virens per annum (worth £52 million) are landed in the UK alone. Activities of collectors at local collection sites monitored using remote closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras showed considerable activity with a mean of 3.14 collectors per tide (day and night) at one site. Moreover, individuals were digging for up to 3 h per tide, although intensity differed seasonally and between sites. Collectors usually walked considerable distance across the intertidal sediment to reach areas that were usually already dug and collect on average 1.4 kg of N. virens per person per hour. In addition, the demand for wild-caught polychaetes could surge as an ever-expanding aquaculture industry increases polychaete consumption for use as maturation diets for broodstock and to offset stagnations in the supply of fish meal and fish oil. To ensure sustainability and to minimize the environmental impacts of coastal regions, urgent action is required against wild biomass collection. Within the context of fisheries and conservation management, the implications of these human activity and biomass removal levels are explored. Polychaete bait fisheries are highly valuable at the local, regional and national scales. Removal of significant biomass from the wild might have considerable impacts and therefore, urgent governance equivalent to other fisheries is the need of the time.


For more details please visit the link: Bait worms: a valuable and important fishery with implications for fisheries and conservation management

Biodeposits from Mytilus edulis: a potentially high-quality food source for the polychaete, Hediste diversicolor

Previous studies have demonstrated undoubtedly that the deposit feeding polychaete, Hediste diversicolor, can efficiently handle sludge from land based aquaculture by working detritus into the sediments, thereby, avoiding clumping. In a study by Bergström and his team, the growth and survival rates of H. diversicolor fed on mussel faeces was investigated. Moreover, in order to understand the consequences of experimental handlings, the effects of chemical fluxes in and out of the sediment were also evaluated.

Strong differences in growth were observed between the different treatments, though, no difference was observed in short-term survival. The polychaetes grew on average 17% in wet weight after a period of 10 days when fed only on mussel faeces, as compared to 3% when given equivalent amounts of organic matter from the natural sediments. However, an increase in growth 19–20% growth was observed when polychaetes were administered a mixture of faeces and natural sediments, thus, suggesting an approximate additive effect of the two food sources. Chemical analysis showed that irrespective of the origin, the oxygen consumption increases with the load of organic material; higher fluxes of ammonia was caused by faecal material as compared to natural organic material. However, neither oxygen consumption nor nutrient fluxes were affected by the ashing of sediments. On the contrary, increased fluxes of silicate was observed as a consequence of ashing but were not affected by the addition of mussel faeces. Therefore, regardless of the experimental artefacts owing to ashing of sediments, this study showed that oxygen and nutrient dynamics responded accordingly to the manipulations of organic material and not to the potential alterations of the sediment composition. Hence, the observed effects on the growth of H. diversicolor can be manifested as due to differences in quality and amount of organic material administered. In fact, mussel faeces turned out to be is a high-quality food source for H. diversicolor. Furthermore, with sufficient data from previous studies in connection to bioturbation, the authors conclude H. diversicolor to be a potential candidate in further efforts to develop practical elucidations based on bioturbation for mitigation of adverse effects on benthic environments associated with mussel-farming.

For details please visit: Biodeposits from Mytilus edulis: a potentially high-quality food source for the polychaete, Hediste diversicolor

Insights into Aquaculture’s Potential of Polychaetes

Polychaetes, generally are marine annelid worms that have gained popularity owing to their use as baits both for recreational and professional fishing purposes. In addition, it can also contribute to aquaculture diversification. Though polychaete culture has been feasible and commercially attempted too, managing polychaete fisheries has progressed only in few countries around the world. Those countries with no marine polychaetes production either depend upon wild harvest or imports. An in-depth study is needed to provide a better understanding of the nutritional requirements and reproduction of some species. Nevertheless, new technical improvements that can lead to significant progress in productivity and give fresh momentum to the polychaete production have been demonstrated. Amongst the marine worm species, a few were recognized as good candidates for integrated multitrophic aquaculture.  Within this aspect, the development of rearing techniques and grow-out procedures are the central points. This will allow the culture of new polychaetes, possible in polyculture systems that can enhance aquaculture sustainability, reduce environmental threat and increase earnings. Considerable environmental benefits might be gained by increasing bait farming and reducing bait-digging activity. Moreover, many anglers would prefer to purchase cultured bait rather than dig their own, provided the supplies were of high quality and priced advantageously with respect to some of the worms collected from the wild. Additionally, some worms are also regarded as one of the most important components in order to maintain a thriving sand bed. They are excellent scavengers and detritus consumers. Their activity turns over the upper layers of aquarium sand beds, working detritus into the sand, thereby preventing clumping. Furthermore, the demand for polychaetes has increased as a result of their use to feed other species in aquaculture as it ensures adequate nutrition for reared broodstock. Last but not the least, polychaetes are also extensively used for research purposes, as model animals, for instance in reproduction, ecotoxicology, bioremediation, and environmental monitoring studies. Substantial work focused on the main technical improvements and advances have been made in areas as varied as polychaetes’ aquaculture potential, reared species, main species used worldwide, highlights biological and ecological concerns, important challenges and recommendations.

For more information please refer:Insight into aquaculture's potential of marine annelid worms and ecological concerns: a review

Polychaetes and their potential use in aquaculture

Is Europe ready for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture? A survey on the perspectives of European farmers and scientists with IMTA experience

This study has assessed the current status of European marine-based IMTA and the major impediments to wider IMTA adoption by describing for the first time at such a large spatial coverage, the opinions of farmers and scientists with experience on IMTA.

Thirty-Four people with an average of 74.7 months of experience in IMTA from 12 countries in Europe, answered to a by-phone questionnaire, based on some open-ended questions, structured into three parts: the first part aimed to collect personal information and the location(s) of their IMTA practices; the second part consisted of questions regarding the IMTA application (e.g. the species cultivated, reasons for IMTA application, bottlenecks faced and support received); the third part evaluated the current and future perceptions of farmers/scientists on the IMTA level.

The most used generative species are European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), Gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) and Salmo salar. As extractive species, a lot of organisms are used, but only the brown algae (Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima), mussels (Mytilus edulis) and scallop (Aequipecten opercularis) are cultured at a commercial level. The major drivers behind the IMTA adoption are the mitigation of nitrogen waste, research of suitable species and enhanced production. EU, national or regional scheme/instrument are used from respondents for the implementation of the IMTA experiments and practices; in particular, respondents from Norway, Denmark and Spain received national financial support on at least one occasion. The major bottlenecks/obstacles faced during IMTA implementation and operation are in the fields of biological (e.g. lack of available seed, lack of knowledge and biofouling that negative interact with culturing processes), environmental, legislative (e.g. financial support from the governments), market (e.g. uncertain profitability) and operational issues such as inadequate technology and lack of infrastructure. Lastly, the largest part of respondents (26%) believe that there is a high potential for IMTA in Europe. However, the most often reported-challenge to overcome for the future development of the IMTA is related to economic and legislation issues, according to the needs of the different regions. 

For more details please visit the link:

Use of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis and Mytilus trossulus) for the removal of organic particulates from Atlantic salmon cage in an open-water IMTA system.

The extraction of organic matter from intensive aquaculture systems is one of the main concerns to minimize the environmental impact of this activity. In the specific case of IMTA systems, various types of organisms are used to successfully perform this task. However, knowing the percentages of organic matter removal of the different extraction species is essential for the dimensioning and evaluation of IMTA systems. For this purpose, researches in the St. Andrews Biological Station in St. Andrews, Canada, carried out laboratory and field experiments to determine the absorption efficiency of the blue mussels and its potential as organic matter extractive species in IMTA. In the laboratory the diets tested were: two algal diets (a commercial spat and a diatom formula), two salmon farm diets and salmon feces, meanwhile in the field test the total particulate matter from the salmon cages was tested.

The absorption efficiency obtained for the different kind of diets were 87, 81, 90, 86 and 54%, for commercial spat formula, commercial diatom diet, salmon feed, salmon feces and total particulate matter from salmon cages. These results recommend that the blue mussels have the capacity of absorbing those waste produced from the salmon cages and represent optimal candidates as organic matter extractive species in IMTA systems with salmon.

For more details, see Reid et al. (2010) Absorption efficiency of blue mussels (Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus) feeding on Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) feed and fecal particulates: Implications for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture. Aquaculture 299, 165-169.