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The value of the sea cucumber Holothria forskali as a novel species in integrated multitrophic aquaculture systems

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Matt Slater, Camilla Macdonald, Professor Selina Stead


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Integrating novel species into existing aquaculture units by applying Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) principles has the potential to enhance economic outputs of a production site and reduce environmental impacts of aquaculture systems. Deposit-feeding sea cucumbers such as Holothuria forskali are considered viable candidate species for IMTA systems as they can consume waste from higher trophic level species and also represent a high value export food product. The current study assessed the suitability of Dicentrarchus labrax waste as a dietary feed for Holothuria forskali a rarely studied species of sea cucumber common in warmer European coastal waters. The impact of grazing by H. forskali on levels of total carbon (TC) and total nitrogen (TN) content of D. labrax waste was assessed over an 8 week experimental period from October to December to determine the bioremediation capability of H. forskali. The study also recorded sea cucumber growth, as measured by mean specific growth rates (SGR) when fed D. labrax waste diet. The results indicate that D. labrax waste is palatable to H. forskali and can also enhance growth rates under appropriate experimental conditions. Holothuria forskali significantly suppressed the rate of organic carbon accumulation by the end of the experimental period; TC content of H. forskali tanks (56.47 +/- 3.42%, mean +/- SD) significantly lower than control tanks containing no H. forskali individuals (62.67 +/- 0.47%, Unpaired t-test, P<0.05). Results indicate that in longer term treatments this species may be a highly effective bioremediator of D. labrax waste. Overall results indicate the initial parameters are acceptable for co-culture of D. labrax and H. forskali in an IMTA system.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Slater MJ, MacDonald CLE, Stead SM

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unpublished

Conference Name: Marine Resources and Beyond

Year of Conference: 2011

Publisher: IMARE, Bremerhaven