About this Research Topic
Fishing practices for consumption purposes have changed in recent years, from being solely based on capture fisheries to an expansion in aquaculture endeavors. If the present trend continues, it is predicted that the aquaculture share will exceed capture fisheries within the next couple of years. However, looking into this in more detail, most farmed species are freshwater fishes, whereas marine and coastal finfish production has been more or less stagnant for the last 20 years.
The ability to produce and farm aquatic organisms, from larvae to adult specimens, requires the presence of hatcheries capable of producing enough juvenile marine fish and shrimps to support further grow-out at aquaculture farms. Many freshwater fishes are successfully cultured. The first feed for their larvae is based on inert diets (pelleted dry feed) as most freshwater species raised in aquaculture present precocial larvae, which resemble mini-adults after finishing their yolk reserves. Marine, altricial fish larvae, on the other hand, tend to require live feed (crustaceans) to survive the larval stage, which is due to their limited amount of yolk reserves. Subsequently, altricial fish larvae must go through a weaning procedure were live feed can be replaced with inert feed.
Planktonic crustaceans, as naturally occurring prey in the aquatic environments, are commonly used as live feed. Nevertheless, the availability of adequate live feed has become a bottleneck for the domestication of many marine species. The cultivation of planktonic crustaceans is complicated and, therefore, research has tried to replace live feed with inert food. However, formulating inert feed for fish larvae is also difficult because of the complex nutritional and physiological requirements. Nevertheless, the weaning period for many marine fish has been reduced when offered formulated feed in the last decades. Despite the continuous developments in feed manufacturing, feeding and weaning protocols, inert feed has yet to offer the same benefits as live feed. Inert feed, for example, is still reported to have a negative effect on growth and lipid digestibility for fish and shrimp larvae. Obviously, inert feed lacks the appeal of swimming behavior that live feed exhibits, which is important to trigger attacks from fish larvae and, thereby, feeding. Thus, a large part of the marine aquaculture industry still relies on the capabilities to grow and store live feeds, which is a serious bottleneck limiting the development of many marine fish and shrimp productions worldwide.
This Frontiers Research Topic, therefore, aims to collect articles that demonstrate improvements in producing live feeds that can help the aquaculture industry to reduce the mentioned limitations and bottlenecks. To do so, it is necessary to get a better understanding of the selection of aquaculture-relevant live feed organisms and strains. Furthermore, to succeed in having a live feed supply one must demonstrate capabilities to domesticate the species, understanding its basic biology but also solving the challenges in the transition from small to upscale productions of live feeds.
Keywords: Marine fishes, Aquaculture, Live feed, Early life history of fishes, Sustainability
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.