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Swimming activity of seabass: comparing patterns obtained in natural environment and in re-circulating tanks under high density

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Seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax) swimming activity was compared between natural environments and aquaculture facilities. Behaviour under natural conditions was assessed in a saltmarsh pond (250 m2, 18 × 14 × 0·8 m) using acoustic telemetry. From several surveys, we documented the diel activity rhythm and demonstrated group effects on swimming patterns and amplitudes by comparing activity of solitary fish with that of a fish living in a group of 60. Consequences of weather variability were also analysed and revealed a high sensitivity of fish to atmospheric conditions for both swimming and demand‐feeding behaviour. Behaviour in fish tanks was also studied using acoustic telemetry, as part of the EUREKA EU1 960 ‘Aqua‐Maki 2’ project investigating aspects of fish culture in re-circulating tanks under high density. A re-circulating hexagonal tank (5·4 × 5·4 m, 1·8 m depth, 48 m3) was equipped with positioning and demand‐feeding systems, oxygen and temperature probes. Initial density was 50 kg m3 in March and rose to 90 kg m3 at the end of the experiment in May. During this period, the movements of nine fish were continuously recorded for 24 h each, reaching a total of six 24 h episode at eight days interval. Swimming activity was analysed in terms of activity rhythms and space occupation specially around feeding events. The two data set and main results will be presented and compared to assess seabass behavioural plasticity and sensitivity to husbandry conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre de Recherche sur les Ecosystèmes Marins et Aquacoles, CNRS/IFREMER, BP 5, F-17137 L’Houmeau, France; 2: Station Expérimentale d’Aquaculture, IFREMER, Chemin de Maguelone, F-34250 Palavas, France

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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