GROWTH AND GENERAL PERFORMANCE OF WILD JUVENILES OF JEWFISH EPINEPHELUS ITAJARA (LICHTENSTEIN) MAINTAINED IN FLOATING CAGES UNDER DIFFERENT CULTURE CONDITIONS
An experimental culture trial of wild juveniles of jewfish Epinephelus itajara was conducted in two different places in the north coast of Colombia in order to evaluate the growth rate of the species and its tolerance to captivity conditions. Two different groups of fish were evaluated in each place, one fed on an artificial diet and the other on trash fish. All fish were held in floating cages for periods ranging from 63 to 89 days. Results showed excellent individual daily weight increase (6,83 and 12,4 g/day) and specific growth rate (1,4 y 0,96 %/day) for fish fed on trash fish in both places but conversion ratio was too high and inadequate (9,01 and 9,97). Trials with the artificial diet gave negative results because the fish didn’t accept the pellets satisfactorily. During the culture period the fish showed great tolerance to manipulation, disease resistance and adaptability to extreme fluctuations in water quality (O2 = 0,9-7,1 mg/L; salinity = 7-37). Sacrifice and processing of the fish indicated that in order to meet best market standards fish should be grown-up to a final weight around 1,9 kg to obtain two whole and skinned fillets of 280 g each. It is concluded that the jewfish has important advantages for its culture like a fast growth rate and a great tolerance to extreme fluctuations in water quality. Main limitations for commercial culture are the absence of technology for hatchery seed production and the lack of an artificial diet with the presentation, palatability and composition required.
Jewfish; Epinephelus itajara; Experimental culture trials; Floating cages; Growth
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