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  • OFFSHORE AQUACULTURE OF MARINE FINFISH IN THE CARIBBEAN

    Daniel Benetti*, Refik Orhun, Brian OHanlon, Larry Brand, James Collins, Christopher Maxey, Andy Danylchuk, Dallas Alston, Alexis Cabarcas

  • Cobia, Rachycentron canadum

    Carangidae (jacks and pompanos)

    Mutton Snapper, Lutjanus analisCobia (Rachycentron canadum)

    Yellowfin Tuna, Thunnus albacares

  • SPECIES CRITERIA

    1) Native /endemic to the region (SE US,Gulf and the Caribbean)

    2) High market demand and value

    3) Technology developed/available fromegg to market (hatchery produced)

    4) High Aquaculture performance:Growth Survival Feed conversion rate

    Cobia (Rachycentron canadum)

  • Comparative Growth During Early Developmental Stages45 DPH (Days Post Hatch) 6 weeks

    Cobia5.5 g; 11.5 cm (4.5 in)

    Snapper0.2 g; 2.0 cm (1.0 in)

    Which species would you rather select for commercial aquaculture?

  • BROODSTOCK MANAGEMENTTechnological Advances: Large (50-80 ton) independent, environmentally controlled recirculating systems TEMPERATURE control is KEY for natural spawning Improved nutrition [fish, squid, shrimp, pellets, blood worms (polychaetes)] Improved handling [no handling or using clove oil (eugenol) @ 10-20 ppm] Removal/addition of individuals (aggressive males/females, stress, sex ratio) Use of artificial substrates mimic sea grass beds (Aquamats) Parasite control (cleaning station, symbiosis, neon goby, Gobiosoma oceanops)

  • When exposed to correct temperature cycle,cobia spawn naturally at 24 oC (optimum is 26 oC!?)

  • HATCHERY TECHNOLOGY OF COBIA Rachycentron canadum

    45 days old (4.5 in)20 days old

    10 days old

    Yolk-sac larvae - 1 day old

  • HATCHERY TECHNOLOGYIntensive and Extensive Larval Rearing in Tanks and Ponds

    Fist trials carried out at the University of Miami Experimental Hatchery inMay/June 2005 produced tens of thousands of healthy cobia fingerlings

  • Shipping ChallengesLogistics

    San Juan, Puerto Rico

    Rock Sound, South Eleuthera, Bahamas

    Fajardo, Puerto Rico

  • Stocking Snapperfarms SubmergedCages off Culebra Island, Puerto Rico

  • SeaStation 3000 - Ocean Spar, Net Systems (U.S.)

    Culebra, Puerto RicoSnapperfarm, Inc.

    Eleuthera, BahamasAquaSense Bahamas, Ltd.

    H2O flow > 2 billion liters/day(>600 million gl/day)

    Cage volume = 3000 m3Average current velocity = 0.5 knot

    Depth = 25-30 m (90-100 ft)

  • Cobia juveniles are transferred from the nursery cage into3,000 m3 SeaStation main cages in 2-4 weeks in

    Puerto Rico and South Eleuthera, Bahamas

    Stocking densities: 3,000 - 20,000 fingerlings @ 70-90% survival; harvest @ 12-8 lb (6-4 kg) eaSeaStation 3000 = 2700m3 volume = 15 - 70 Tons/cage = 5 - 25 kg/m3 or 12-50 lb/m3

    Market Price of Fish (whole gutted) = $ 3.25 - $ 4.0/lb or $ 7.15 - $ 8.8/kg

  • Snapperfarm and AquaSense cobia areproduced without the use of antibiotics, hormones, pigments, or pesticides.Grown offshore, far from pollution sources

    Organic Cobia!?[Ethoxyquin, a synthetically-derived antioxidant(stabilizer) used to prevent oxidation, rancidity.]

    GROWOUT

    Extraordinary Rates of Growth and Feed Conversion Efficiency (FCR)

    at Low Environmental Impact

  • Recorded and fitted Van Bertalanffy growth of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in Snapperfarms offshore cages off Culebra, Puerto Rico

    from hatching to 14 months

    0

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    0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450Age (Days Post Hatch)

    y = 7988 * (1-(exp(-0.0096(x-92)))^3)

    r2 = 0.88

    Onset of maturation> 95% mature

  • COMPARATIVE GROWTH RATES OF COBIA CULTURED IN OFFSHORE CAGES UNDER DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES AND STOCKING DENSITIES

    Cobia growth in weig

    Eleuthera - y = 0.0246x2 - 1.0583x + 87 r2=0.81Culebra - y = 0.0264x2 + 6.3234x + 87 r2=0.69

    0

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    Age (dph

  • GROWTH RATES OF COBIA CULTURED IN OPEN OCEAN CAGES IN PUERTO RICO AND THE BAHAMAS

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    0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450

    Age (days)

    Environmental and economic sustainability of operations?

    Lower stocking densityHigher temperature

    Higher stocking densityLower temperature

  • 0

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    Low Med High

    Stocking Density

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    Low Med High

    Stocking Density

    3.0

    3.5

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    Low Med HighStocking Density

    50

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    Low Med HighStocking Density

    30000400005000060000700008000090000

    100000110000120000

    Low Med High

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    $0

    $100,000

    $200,000

    $300,000

    Low Med High

    Stocking Densit

    COBIA PRODUCTION IN CAGES - SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS

  • Cage Volumes 3000 & 5400 m3

    Flip Cages

  • Environmental Assessment Physical factors

    Bathymetry (depth profile) Bottom type (preferred sandy) Coastal topography Wind velocity/direction/fetch Currents and tides Wave height (max/min/average) Air and water temperature Turbidity

    Biological factors Fouling Chlorophyll Productivity HABs Assemblage Benthic studies

    Chemical factors Total suspended solids Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate Phosphate Dissolved oxygen Organic matter Nitrogen

    Socio-economic factors Acceptance of project Local communities Partnership Fishermen Association

    Educational factors Elementary / High School / Technical

    Level Curricula Teachers Materials / Talks, etc.

  • Dissolved nutrients in the water column

    0.000

    0.001

    0.001

    0.002

    0.002

    0.003

    0.003

    0.004

    0.004

    Ammonia Nitrite Nitrate Phosphate

    mg/

    L

    Snapper Cobia Control

    4.76 4.68 4.75

    1.0

    1.5

    2.0

    2.5

    3.0

    3.5

    4.0

    4.5

    5.0

    5.5

    6.0

    Snapper Cobia Control

    % o

    rgan

    ic m

    atte

    r

    Organic matter in the sediments at the cages and control site

    Environmental AssessmentSummary of Results - Puerto Rico

  • Environmental AssessmentSummary of Results - Bahamas

    Average Water Column Chlorophyll aNovember 2003 - December 2004

    0

    0.02

    0.04

    0.06

    0.08

    0.1

    0.12

    0.14

    0.16

    0.18

    0.2

    10 100 300 500 (Control)

    Distance (m)

    mic

    rogr

    ams/

    m2

    Average Benthic Chlorophyll-aNovember 2003 - December 2004

    0

    5

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    15

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    25

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    40

    0 10 100 300 500 (control)

    Distance (m)

    mic

    rogr

    ams/

    m2

  • Summary of Environmental Studies (Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Hawaii, New Hampshire)

    Environmental data from Puerto Rico and the Bahamas indicate that there are no significant changes in the water column and benthic ecosystems near the area.

    There were no significant differences in any of the water quality parameters measured in the area surrounding and beneath the cages.

    No samples had values in excess of allowable values under the NPDES permits

    Data are from small scale, demonstration projects

    Need to continue environmental monitoring studies as operations expand to determine whether/when a threshold level may occur

    Benetti, Brand, Helsey, Langan, Alston, Cabarcas, Collins (in prep)

  • Cage Location

    HURRICANES

    In 2004, the cages were exposed to severe storms, including category 4 Hurricane Frances

    WINDS ranging from 70-100 miles/hr

    prevailed in the area where one of the cages is deployed in South Eleuthera for almost 24 hours

    No damage to the cage or fish

    mortality were observed

    SHARK PREDATIONESCAPEMENTS

    PROBLEMS:

  • HARVESTING/PROCESSING/SHIPPING

  • HIGH-QUALITY PRODUCT

  • FOR A HIGH-END MARKET

  • Objective is to produce high-quality fish for high-end market seeking profits and lowering US seafood trade deficit ($ 8B)

    New technology has been developed from egg to marketNew species, increase production to market

    Results suggest that growing this species in exposed sites canproduce high yields of fish with low environmental impact

    Results suggest that, properly sited and managed, aquaculture of high-value fish can be conducted responsibly

    It will be difficult to compete with production from abroad (Asia, L.A.);environmental/technological prospects great; economic prospects not

    SUMMARY

  • Anti-predator systems including predator nets, shark pods, electromagnetic fields and chemical/electrical repellants,improvements on existing cage design, new cage design

    Get funding (government and private) and permits to expand operationsto reach economic feasibility

    Continue environmental monitoring studies to ensure environmentalsustainability and determine threshold

    Expansion of offshore aquaculture will be driven by economic andenvironmental concerns combining the needs from the industry,government agencies, NGOs, press and the public at large

    Move/develop the industry abroad with great losses (e.g. qualitycontrol, employment, social/economic losses, dependence foreignproduction; seafood trad

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