What determines growth potential and juvenile quality of farmed fish species?
AuthorValente, L. M. P.; Moutou, K. A.; Conceicao, L. E. C.; Engrola, S.; Fernandes, J. M. O.; Johnston, I. A.
Enhanced production of high quality and healthy fry is a key target for a successful and competitive expansion of the aquaculture industry. Although large quantities of fish larvae are produced, survival rates are often low or highly variable and growth potential is in most cases not fully exploited, indicating significant gaps in our knowledge concerning optimal nutritional and culture conditions. Understanding the mechanisms that control early development and muscle growth are critical for the identification of time windows in development that introduce growth variation, and improve the viability and quality of juveniles. This literature review of the current state of knowledge aims to provide a framework for a better understanding of fish skeletal muscle ontogeny, and its impact on larval and juvenile quality as broadly defined. It focuses on fundamental biological knowledge relevant to larval phenotype and quality and, in particular, on the factors affecting the development of skeletal muscle. It also discusses the available methodologies to assess growth and larvae/juvenile quality, identifies gaps in knowledge and suggests future research directions. The focus is primarily on the major farmed non-salmonid fish species in Europe that include gilthead sea bream, European sea bass, turbot, Atlantic cod, Senegalese sole and Atlantic halibut.