SARF014: Cod broodstock nutrition: arachidonic acid and astaxanthin as determinants of egg quality - project completed

Start Date: 1/10/05
End Date: 30/09/07
Main Contractor(s): University of Stirling
Other Sponsor(s):  Seafish, University of Stirling, British Marine Finfish Association, Machrihanish Marine Farm Ltd

Objectives

1) Determination of the optimum level of ARA in relation to egg quality in wild-caught cod

2) Evaluation of the effect of carotenoid supplementation on egg quality in hatchery reared cod

3) Comparison of the relative effect of diets supplemented with ARA and astaxanthin on egg quality wild and farmed cod

Summary

Cod hatcheries rely heavily on eggs produced by wild-caught broodstock since egg quality from farm-reared broodstock tends to be poor. Reliance on wild fish creates a risk of disease introduction and difficulties with stock improvement by artificial selection. Recent work has shown differences in arachidonic acid and carotenoid pigment concentrations between eggs from wild and farmed cod and reports in the literature make clear the importance of these nutrients in relation to egg quality. This project will investigate the role of dietary arachidonic acid and carotenoid pigment in relation to egg quality in cod. The study will take the form of three experiments. The first experiment will investigate the effect of diets containing graded levels of arachidonic acid on egg quality in wild cod in order to determine the optimum level for best reproductive performance; the second experiment will evaluate the effect of carotenoid supplementation of broodstock diets on egg quality in wild fish, and the third experiment will compare the relative effect of optimised diets on egg quality from wild and farmed cod. The information produced will be valuable for the optimisation of feeds to improve performance of farm-reared broodstock. The study addresses the policy goal to develop and refine sustainable and efficient production systems for cod, with additional welfare and economic benefits, and is submitted in response to a single tender action from SARF for an investigation in this area. Results will be made publicly available to promote further development of broodstock diets for the cod farming industry.