Copepods are the most numerous multicellular organisms on earth. They are also the major food source of numerous species of fish larvae. In aquaculture, they are known to improve fish larval quality. In fact, they have recently proved to be vital to the success of new species, such as Tuna and Grouper. However, due to difficulties in rearing sufficient quantities of copepods and high associated costs, copepods are not widely used in the aquaculture industry.
|Turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) larvae at the age of two days. The use of copepods ensures a high quality of the fry. |
IMProvement of AQuaculture high quality fish fry production (IMPAQ) is a multi-disciplinary research alliance funded by the Danish Strategic Research Council and led by Professor Benni W. Hansen from Roskilde University. IMPAQ aims to develop a sustainable copepod live feed. With our experience and technical expertise, we supported the project. Mohamed-Sofiane Mahjoub from the DHI-NTU Research Centre spent one month as a consultant at Maximus A/S, a Danish company producing turbot fry.
Sofiane’s objective was to back up the IMPAQ team of students and researchers. He did this by investigating how the zooplankton community composition in culture tanks (organism types and density) affects fish larval growth and survival. He regularly sampled and analysed the size and gut content of fish larvae. Video recording of fish feeding behaviour supported the investigation.
When evaluated, the results can help to optimise copepod outdoor production for the aquaculture industry. They moreover greatly support our research to help hatcheries in developing protocols for the production of fish species so far unexplored in aquaculture.
While Sofiane’s stay at Maximus A/S has come to an end, our collaboration continues.
As part of our Den-Select Project, Sofiane and Guillaume Drillet (head of the Aquaculture and Plankton Research Group), continue to provide their expertise and work on indoor copepod cultivation systems for high density production of live feeds.