News last update:6 Aug 2012

Encouraging new trials with fish attractants

After initial laboratory tests, the first commercial trials in the use of pheromone-based fish feeding attractants have shown very encouraging results.

The trials were carried out under the supervision of UK Government Agency CEFAS (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science), in partnership with Kiotech International and in collaboration with local aquaculture and fish institutes in China and Thailand.

Tilapia trials
The trials on Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) were conducted in Zhouhai, China over a six month period. The application of the Tilapia Aquatice product produced a 17% increase in the average weight of the Tilapia compared to the control pond. Aquatice also increased the growth rate of the Tilapia allowing the farmer to start harvesting three weeks earlier than the control pond. In addition, it was noted that in the Aquatice treated pond the fish appeared healthier, the water quality was better and the secondary crop of White Shrimp was significantly higher with less incidence of disease. Overall, the farmer received a 50% higher income from the Aquatice treated pond than the control.

White shrimp trials
In White Shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), the trial was conducted in Tradt, south east Thailand over a three month period. The White Shrimp Aquatice product was applied coated to the commercial shrimp feed. The application of feed coated with Aquatice produced Shrimp which were 30% larger on average than the control Shrimp and had a significantly faster growth. In addition, less feed was required in the Aquatice pond probably due to increased feeding by the Shrimp, which was reflected in an improved Food Conversion Rate (FCR) at harvest than the control pond.

Reduction in waste
On the environmental side, the use of pheromone based attractants will lead to a reduction in the amount of waste from uneaten feed and in the longer term it is anticipated that the pheromone-based technology will be used to permit the use of more sustainable forms of proteins within feeds, which are not based on fish oils or proteins. This approach will further conserve and protect wild fish populations and provide a sustainable base for the large-scale expansion of the aquaculture sector.

These findings, which will be outlined at the upcoming Aquafeed Horizons Conference in Utrecht, the Netherlands, by CEFAS head of salmon and freshwater fisheries Dr. Andrew Moore.

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