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Friday, June 27, 2014

27/06/14: Fish or Egg Story!

Before researchers can raise mahi mahi (dolphin fish), for example, they've got to catch brood stock. And that's how aquaculture program head Dan Benetti and four colleagues spent a recent Tuesday: catching a dozen dolphin in a half-day outing aboard the charter boat Miss Britt II.

"These are perfect-sized fish," research assistant John Stieglitz said happily of the 22- to 24-inch mahis that included three junior bulls and nine junior cows. "These will spawn tonight."

The marine lab rats were caught around a large patch of sargassum weed in about 800 feet of water off Miami Beach. They ate live pilchards cast by the scientists and crew members Ryan Preston and Ryan Peters. None went into the fish box but instead were placed in a round, 300-gallon aerated plastic tank in Miss Britt's cockpit. The scientists pumped in pure oxygen and raw sea water to keep the fish lively for the trip back to the hatchery.

The three-year-old dolphin-raising program has a two-fold purpose: to develop a technology package for food production and, just recently, to test the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf on pelagic fish.

"Without the aquaculture, we wouldn't be able to do the research on the toxicology," Steiglitz said. "Everybody thinks aquaculture is just about food production, but it's about allowing us to work with these challenging pelagics in captivity."


 The Aquaculturists
This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the magazine International Aquafeed which is published by Perendale Publishers Ltd.

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