Aquaculture for all

Research reveals fitter fish win growth race

Marine fish Husbandry R&D +2 more

New research from Perth-based Murdoch University has revealed that exercise regimes can help farmed finfish reach marketable sizes at an accelerated rate.

Gilt-head sea bream swimming in a cage on a fish farm

The effects of training on growth were initially investigated in athletic, fast-swimming salmonids, but the research reveals several non-salmonids, like gilt-head sea bream (Sparus aurata) have shown improved growth © Shutterstock

The new research by Murdoch University lecturer Dr Essie Rodgers and research fellow Dr Daniel Gomez Isaza – published in the journal Reviews in Aquaculture – has revealed that fish that are exercised via manipulating water currents can grow around 10 percent quicker than fish kept in still water.

“Using statistical methods, we show that regardless of training regime used, fish that were exercised grew much faster than fish that were not exercised,” noted Dr Rodgers in a press release. “We also found that all species of fish benefitted from exercise training, and not just athletic fish like salmon.”

Additionally, the research found that fish did not require more food or resources to grow faster.

Dr Gomez Isaza acknowledged they had identified optimal training regimes or ‘workouts’ which would be useful to fish farmers. He added: “We found a large number of studies that have exercised fish, but many use different training regimes, like different water speeds, durations and species”.

The ideal training regime identified through the research included continuous rather than intermittent exercise at target speeds for longer periods of time. Exercise training was also associated with decreased variability in growth rates, leading to not only larger fish, but fish that are more uniform in size.

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