Scientia Marina, Vol 79, No 4 (2015)

Rearing diet may determine fish restocking success: a case study of hatchery-reared juvenile meagre, Argyrosomus regius

María del Mar Gil
Laboratori d’Investigacions Marines i Aqüicultura, LIMIA - IMEDEA (UIB-CSIC), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Department of Ecology and Marine Resources, Fish Ecology Group , Spain

Miquel Palmer
IMEDEA (UIB-CSIC), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Department of Ecology and Marine Resources, Fish Ecology Group , Spain

María Dolores Hernández
IMIDA Acuicultura. Consejería de Agricultura y Agua de la Región de Murcia , Spain

Amalia Grau
Laboratori d’Investigacions Marines i Aqüicultura, LIMIA (Balearic Government) , Spain

Juana Durán
Laboratori d’Investigacions Marines i Aqüicultura, LIMIA (Balearic Government). , Spain

Benjamín García García
IMIDA Acuicultura. Consejería de Agricultura y Agua de la Región de Murcia , Spain

Miguel Jover
Grupo de Acuicultura y Biodiversidad. Universitat Politècnica de Valencia , Spain

Elena Pastor
Laboratori d’Investigacions Marines i Aqüicultura, LIMIA (Balearic Government) , Spain


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.


Argyrosomus regius; restocking programme; production cost; fish quality; diet

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