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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stuttgart, Arkansas » Harry K. Dupree Stuttgart National Aquaculture Research Cntr » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #238325

Title: Optimization of feed rates and rearing densities for production of advanced juvenile red drum in recirculating aquaculture systems for stock enhancement

item WILLS, PAUL - Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute
item Pfeiffer, Tim
item ROBINSON, CHRISTOPHER - Florida Atlantic University
item BAPTISTE, RICHARD - Florida Atlantic University

Submitted to: Book of Abstracts Aquaculture America
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/13/2009
Publication Date: 3/1/2010
Citation: Wills, P., Pfeiffer, T.J., Robinson, C., Baptiste, R. 2010. Optimization of feed rates and rearing densities for production of advanced juvenile red drum in recirculating aquaculture systems for stock enhancement [abstract]. Book of Abstracts Aquaculture America. p.1091.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Saltwater sportfishing for red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, is of immense importance to the recreational saltwater fishing industry from the Gulf of Mexico coastal states through Florida and along the Atlantic seaboard to Maryland and Delaware. Red drum are the second most sought after sportfish in the United States and are the most pursued saltwater sportfish in the state of Florida by both instate and out-of-state recreational anglers. The state of Florida calls itself the “Fishing Capital of the World” for good reason. The level of angler participation in the state adds up to 6.1 million persons of which 2.8 million are saltwater fishers. The saltwater recreational fishing industry in Florida is a significant regional economic driving force in the Southeastern United States of America, worth approximately $7.6 billion to Florida’s Gross State Product. Unfortunately, as with other states, many of Florida’s economically important marine species have declined in abundance due to over-fishing, estuarine nursery habitat loss and acute environmental perturbations. During the late 1980’s red drum populations were declining drastically. This trend was halted only by eliminating commercial harvest and applying very restrictive regulations on the recreational harvest. However, the red drum stocks have not recovered to the point where harvest restrictions can be relaxed; this is an expressed desire of many anglers that fish for red drum. Based on the success of their stocking program in Tampa Bay, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is developing the Florida’s New Saltwater Fish Hatchery Initiative (HNI) to expand the FWC’s saltwater fish stock enhancement program. This study was conducted to determine the success of producing advanced fingerling (130-180 mm FL) red drum juveniles at different densities in marine (11 ppt) recirculating aquaculture systems. Four replicates of three different stocking densities 277, 415, and 554 fish/m3 were compared based on specific growth rate (means respectively = 2.42%, 2.39%, and 2.41%), FCR (means respectively =0.995, 0.998, and 1.003) and, survival (means respectively = 92.0%, 91.3%, and 90.4%). No significant differences were found among the three density treatments based on any of these metrics suggesting that red drum juveniles can be reared at densities of at least 554 fish/m3 or a biomass that equates to 28.9 Kg/m3 of fish in the rearing tanks.