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Sardine early survival, physical condition and stress after introduction to captivity

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The main factors that affect early survival, physical damage and stress reactions of sardine Sardina pilchardus after live capture and introduction to captivity were examined. A total of 2800 sardines were captured alive from commercial purse seiners in five trials off southern Portugal and monitored for 4 weeks in aquaculture tanks. Survival rates varied considerably between trials (from <20 to >80% after a month), with most deaths occurring in the first 5 days. Sardine early survival was affected by factors related to conditions at sea (catch composition, sea temperature and transportation density), during introduction to captivity (magnitude of thermal shock, land transportation duration and use of antibacterial treatment) and, possibly, their interaction. Physical damage was related to the probability of dying, with fish that died during the first week showing significantly higher scale loss and larger caudal fin erosion that those that were alive in the same period. For all stress variables measured (blood haematocrit, cortisol, glucose and ions in the plasma), the most extreme values were attained during introduction to captivity or in the first hours after. After 2 weeks in captivity, most variables had returned to levels close to those observed at the onset of purse-seine fishing, suggesting that maintenance conditions were adequate to permit a rapid recovery from fishing and transport stress.
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Keywords: Sardina pilchardus; fin erosion; live capture; mortality; scale loss; stress reactions

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos (INRB/IPIMAR), Estação Piloto de Piscicultura de Olhão, CRIP Sul, Avenida 5 de Outubro, s/n, 8700-305 Olhão, Portugal, 2: Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária, Polo Universitário do Alto da Ajuda, Avenida da Universidade Técnica, 1300-477, Lisbon, Portugal 3: INRB/IPIMAR, Avenida de Brasília, 1449-006, Lisbon, Portugal

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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