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Juan Pablo Lazo

Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education of

B.C., Mxico
Organization of the talk
World fisheries and why it makes sense to grow fish
Mexico's aquaculture
Marine fish research and species being cultured
Review of some recent advances per species
Main Bottlenecks
Conclusions and recommendations
Status of the World Fisheries
About 75 percent of the world's most valuable marine
fish stocks are either fished to the limits or over-fished.
Capture has not increased in the last 20 years
At the same time world fish consumption has
increased from 45 million MT in 1973 to more than 140
million in 2010
World Capture Fisheries & Aquaculture

Source: Sofia FAO, 2012

Role of aquaculture
FAO estimates an additional 40 million MT of seafood
will be required by 2030
In order to serve this increasing demand in the long
run, sustainable alternatives have to be strengthened.
The most promising of these is the aquaculture
Today aquaculture accounts for almost 50% of the fish
consumed globally, up from 9% in 1980.
Efficiency of fish growth
Of all the animal production systems.
Cattle in feedlots, require 7 kilograms of grain to
produce a 1-kilogram gain in live weight
For pork, the figure is close to 4 kilograms of grain per
kilogram of weight gain
For poultry it is just over 2,
For farmed fish (such as salmonids, carps, tilapia, and
catfish), it is < 2
Why are fish so efficient?
Fish spend very little energy on basal metabolism
because they are
Floating in water

This saves up to 50-60% of the energy in the feed for

Trend in the use of feeds in aquaculture
While feed is generally perceived to be a major
constraint to aquaculture development, 35% of all
farmed food fish production (20 million MT) is
currently achieved without artificial feeding (i.e.,
herbivorous fish)
However, in 2008, about 31.7 million MT (46.1% of
total global aquaculture) were feed-dependent
So about 30 million MT of feed were used
Reduction in the use of FM and FO
In the last 15 years fishmeal inclusion in major fish
diets has declined considerably.
The FAO projects that, in the next 10 years, fishmeal
inclusion in the diets of:
carnivorous fish and crustacean species will be further
reduced by 1022%,
omnivorous fishes by 25%
Calculated pelagic forage fish equivalent per unit of production for major cultivated

Tacon, 2008
Mxicos aquaculture
Aquaculture in Mxico has grown steadily in the recent
years with yearly growth rates of more than 4.5%.
While our main production system is centered on shrimp
and tilapia culture, several marine fish species are currently
considered excellent candidates to diversify commercial
Largest session of talks in LACAQUA14 (more than 30!)
The opportunity for expansion is quite significant since
Mexico has over 11,500 km of coastal areas with tropical to
temperate climates
Proximity to one of the largest markets in the world (US)
Main species: commercial
White legged shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei
Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas
Pacific Bluefin Tuna, Thunnus orientalis
Mediterranean Mussels, Mytilus galloprovincialis
Catarina scallop, Argopecten ventricosus
Red abalone, Haliotis rufescens
Kelp, Macrosystis
Mexican Aquaculture Production

TOTAL 1,747,277 242,059 14% 75,554 166,134

Tuna 153,143 6,399 4% 6,399 -

Catfish 5,501 2,801 51% 1,236 1,565
Shrimp 127,517 60,292 47% 60,292 -
Carp 33,003 26,876 81% 26,876
Yellowtail 16,575 400 2% 400
Prawns 2,483 53 2% 53
Bass 1,571 1,234 79% - 1,234
Tilapias 102,039 96,827 95% 96,827
Oysters 42,945 38,715 90% 38,715
Trout 9,757 6,700 69% 6,700
Clams 14,956 370 2%
Abalone 479 68 14% 68
Other 1,324 474 849
509,969 242,059 47%
Conapesca, 2013)
Main species: pilot-scale or
Geoduck and other clams
Drums, jacks, flounders, snappers
Sea urchins
Shrimp culture
Grew 2% per year in the last 20 years increasing
from 5000 to 130,000 MT (until 2009)
One targeted species Litopenaeus vannamei
Problems with diseases; EMS, white spot, taura,
Mollusks culture
Mexico is the 4th largest producer of bivalves in LA
Majority of the production based on Pacific oyster
Around 200 ha in production producing 38,000 MT
Depended on triploid oyster larvae imported from
Northwest USA
Emerging species Cortez oyster

Cultured species
Oyster. Oyster
Mussels. Crassostrea gigas
Crassostrea sikamea Mussel
Tuna (blue fin) Mano de Len
Shrimp Mytilus sp. Lyropecten sp.
Scallops lion pawn(proyectos piloto)
Yellow Tails Amber Jack
Striped bass
Tot oaba m acdonaldi Abuln
striped sea bass Oncorhynchus mikiss
Haliotis sp
Ornamental Fish(Clownfish)
Totoaba (en et apa pilot o)
Trout (en etapa piloto) Thunnus thynnus
Morone saxatilis
Curvina Blanca
Micropogon opercularis

Catfish Clownfish Shrimp Jurel

Ictalurus sp 6
Amphiprion ocellaris Litopenaeus vannamei Seriola sp
Fuente: Crip-La Paz,
Araceli Aviles Quevedo (2o10)
Marine Fish Species Grown in Mexico
Research Larviculture Commercial

Lenguado de California (California

halibut) Paralichthys californicus
Totoaba (totoaba)
Totoaba macdonaldi

Jurel aleta amarilla (Yellowtail)
Seriola lalandi y S. rivoliana

Cabrilla arenera (Spotted sand bass)
Paralabrax maculatofasciatus

Corvina blanca (White sea bass)
Atractoscion nobilis

Pargo lunarejo (Spotted rose snapper)
Lutjanus guttatus
Marine Fish Species Grown in Mexico
Larviculture Commercial
Research Production

Botete diana (Bullseye puffer)

Sphoeroides annulatus

Atn aleta azul (Bluefin tuna)
Thunnus orientales

Atn aleta amarilla (Yellowfin tuna)
Thunnus albacores

Leopard grouper (cabrilla sardinera)
Mycteroperca rosacea

Pacific red snapper (huachinango) L.
Striped bass (lobina rayada)
Morone saxatilis

Marine Fish Species Grown in Mexico
Golfo de Mxico
Research Larviculture Production

Corvina ocelada (Red drum)

Sciaenops ocellatus

Cobia (Cobia)
Rachycentrum candum

Snook (robalo)
Centropomus undecimalis

Yellowtail snapper (canane)
Ocyurus chrysurus

Pmpano, palometa (Pompano)
Trachinotus carolinus

Marine fish culture

Larval rearing

Few problems
Some problems
Many problems
Bottlenecks in marine fish culture
Major bottleneck is the rearing of larvae
Currently, production requires the use of live prey
that are expensive and unreliable
Labor can be up to 70% of production cost for rotifers
Artemia can represent 80% of larval production cost
Suboptimal nutritional quality (EFA deficiencies)
Replacing live feeds with microparticulate diets
would solve this problem
Marine fish larval culture
Larval culture is still the bottleneck of successful
One of the principal goals is to replace the use live
prey with formulated microdiets
Production of live prey is labor intensive, expensive
and nutritionally inadequate
Need to enrich live food with nutrients (LC-PUFAs)!
Alternatively, microdiets can be tailored to the
nutritional requirements and digestive capacity of the
larvae throughout ontogeny
After many years of research: good
progress, but.

Growth Survival
8 100
Standard length (mm)

Survival (%)
2 20
0 0
Live feed Microdiet Live feed Microdiet
Feed type Feed type
Factors affecting feed success in larvae
capsule Digestion
Chemical factors proteins digestive enzymes
feed attractants ingredients peristaltic movements
FAA, ammonium salts, etc. moisture digestive tract development
smell acid secretion, bile salts

Visual factors shape Assimilation/absorption
colour movement brush borders
shape microvilii
size transporters
movement proteins

Kolvkoski, Lazo and Izquierdo (2011)

Research to develop the industry
Establish reproduction techniques
Develop marine fish larval microdiets, which are
adequately ingested, that properly induce the
secretion of digestive enzymes and present the
required nutrients in a digestible form adapted to
the developmental stage
Determine nutrient requirements in juveniles of
emerging aquaculture species and the digestibility
of feed ingredients
Methods to control disease
Research centers
Marine fish larvae research
Characterized the development of the digestive system
morphological, histological, biochemical and molecular
Digestive enzyme activity: digestive capacity
Nutrient requirements (Proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals)
in vitro digestibility: ingredient selection and diet evaluation
Develop successful weaning diets
Weaning protocols
Levels of assessment (organizational)

Response time



Gene expression
Target tissues
The whole organism
Digestive system
Intestine: intestinal mucosa enterocytes
Liver: hepatocytes
Pancreas: exocrine pancreas
Muscle: muscle fibers
Microscopy (development stomach)
Stereology: (volume, surface area)
Biochemical composition: Lipids (TG, PL, FA)
Enzyme activity: metabolic and digestive
RNA:DNA ratios
Gene expression
Adequate weaning age for flounder
100 a 100

Survival (%)
Survival (%)

60 60

50 50
40 40
30 30
20 20
10 10
16 21 26 31 36 41 46 51 56 26 31 36 41 46 51 56
dph dph

100 c 100 d
90 90

80 80

70 70
Survival (%)

Survival (% )
60 60
50 50
40 40
30 30
20 20
10 10
0 0
36 39 42 45 48 51 54 57 60 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
dph dph

Figure 1. Survival rate (n=3) of larvae weaned at 16 (a), 26 (b), 36 (c) and 46 (d) dph.
Weaning protocol for Pacific yellowtail
(Seriola lalandi dorsalis)

? Microdiet

5-10 naup mL-1


15-20 rot mL-1

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

Days after hatching (DAH)

We need locally produced grow-out diets
Worldwide adequate diets for many marine fish species
Customs issues and delays (several months)
Current prices of imported feeds are high (from $ 2.5/kg)
Need to integrate local ingredients to reduce costs
Improve nutrient utilization to reduce waste
Each species can feed at different temperatures and will
need different diets (E/P)
To formulate successful diets, nutrient profile and
digestibility of ingredients are essential
Digestibility integrates:
Digestion processes
Good tool to infer the degree of nutrient utilization
when formulating diets
Usually performed in vivo
in vivo digestibility trials
In vivo studies are:
Variable depending on the methodology used (i.e., feces
collection method, inert marker used, ect..)
Difficult to estimate ingestion rates in larvae
Extremely difficult to collect feces in larvae
in vitro digestibility assays
Simple, rapid and inexpensive techniques
Rapid screening of potential dietary ingredients and
formulated feeds
No need for long expensive and labor-intensive
feeding trials
Several techniques
pH-drop, pH-STAT, a.a. or N released
Commercial or extracted enzymes
Methods: sampling and dissection

Larvae from 2 h (gut evacuation)

triplicate SL
tanks Dissection

0, 1, 2 ,3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10
14, 18, 22 DAH triplicates 70 oC
Homogenization digestive tract

Protein content
Enzymatic activity
in vitro digestibility
Main producers (N. Pacific)
Baja Aquafarms (tuna) Pesquera Dely
Pacifico Aquaculture (seriola, (snapper, totoaba)
white sea bass, stripped bass) Alevines de Mxico
Ocean Baja Labs (yellowtail) (snapper)
Maricultura del Norte (tuna,
seriola, white sea bass)
Provipsa (Totoaba)
Baja Seas (yelowtail)
BajaAquaculture & Earth
Oceans Farms (totoaba,
snapper, gulf corvina)
Rancheros Marinos (seriola,
Vamosa (yellowtail)
Main producers: Gulf of Mexico
Tecnologia Pesquera Avanzada de Campeche (red
Industrializadora de Pescados y Mariscos (pargo
Acuaplan (Robalo)
Overall advances
Hatcheries using recirculating systems (more biosecurity)
Biofilters, UV, Ozone
Controlled yearly spawning in captivity for yellowtail, totoaba,
flounder, puffer, snappers, snook, cobia, grouper.. (F1, F2)
Significant progress in larval culture
Culture and weaning protocols for yellowtail, flounder, totoaba,
snappers, cobia & snook
All based on LC-PUFA enriched rotifers and Artemia and a mid to
late weaning strategy
Grow out (production fluctuates; 2,000 and 5,000 MT)
Culture conditions (T,S,O2,light,pH), stocking densities, feeding
Good knowledge of cage culture techniques
Some land based tank operations
Overall advances, but.
Research formulations for flounder, totoaba, seriola, puffer fish,
snappers groupers
Commercial diets for totoaba, yellowtail, red drum, cobia, snapper
Commercial brands:
Locally produce: Alimentos super, Purina, Alimentos Pedregal,
Imported: EWOS, Skretting, Zeigler, Rangen, SilverCup, Biomar
Pilot scale diets for flounder, snooks
Slow characterization and treatment of some diseases and parasites
Few commercial hatcheries (!)
Yellowtail (Seriola lalandi
and S. rivoliana)
Broodstock @ Ocean Baja Labs, CICESE, CREMES y
Rancheros Marinos)
Spawning in captivity achieved in several hatcheries
Used to rely on eggs from US or Chile
Production (150,000/cycle x 2, potential for 1,00,000)
Three commercial hatcheries (2 are currently
Weaning and early juvenile diets
Enough technical information for larval and juvenile
production (stocking densities, diet type, feeding rates
Limited regional production of grow-out diets
Harvest size (2-3 kg) can be obtained 12 to 14 months
Several commercial farms currently growing this
Actual production: 2013 = 120 MT, 2014-2015 = 400 MT
2017 = 1,500 to 2,000 MT
Market: excelent export product, suchi quality
Price: >$12-18 USD/kg.
Culture constraints
Can represent a 35 to 50% mortality during early culture
Main causes:
Size dispersal
Inadequate feeding (low ingestion rates)
Necessary to separate fish by size (very labor intensive)
Grading techniques
Manual with nets (difficult task)
Using current and cages
Fish graders most common
Automated siphons
Skeletal deformities
High price and limited offer of imported Feeds
Benedenia seriole (skin flukes)
Zeuxapta (gill flukes)
Calligus (copepods, sea-lice)
(Totoaba macdonaldi)
Largest member of the Sciaenids (50 kg), endemic.
Broodstock (UABC, CREMES, BajaAquafarms)
Controlled reproduction (UABC, CREMES, BajaAqua)
Larval production (200,000/year; potential 800,000)
UABC (100,000), CREMES (60,000), CICESE (20,000)
Weaning and early juvenile diets
Enough technical information for larval and juvenile
(stocking densities, diet type, feeding rates ect..)
Excellent growth rates (up to 3.5 kg in 1 year)
Production of grow-out diets
Harvest size (2-4 kg) can be reached in 12 moths
Three commercial farms currently evaluating its
potential (BajaAquaculture, Cremes, Pacifico Aqua)
Estimated production around 30-40 MT
Major issues for selling the product due to its
protection under CITES
Market is local but with very good acceptance and
demand (potential for export)
Price: >$12/kg whole fish, but air bladder $$$$
Sand bass or grouper
(Mycteroperca rosacea)
Larval and juvenile production began in 2003 and has been
constant since 2006
Harvest size of 500 g can be achieved in 18 months with
survival rates of 90 %
Nutritional requirements are currently being determined
Highlight achievements are 23 million fertilized eggs with
good hatching rates and the production of 19,000 juveniles
However, there are still high mortalities at first feeding and
No commercial production yet

Source Dr. Vicente Gracia

Gulf corvina
(Cynoscion othonopterus)
Reproduction @ CREMES-IAS, Sonora
Induced spawning since 2010 using gravid wild females
Completed larval culture with good survival (60%)
Production of 50,000 juveniles
So far that this species has moderate to slow growth
rates but adapts well to pond culture conditions

Source: Ing. German Ibarra

Lutjanus gutattus
Controlled reproduction in captivity since 2005 (CIAD Mazatln)
Juvenile production (250,000/ year; 2013 = 500,000)
Estimated production for 2014: 1 million juveniles
Weaning and early juvenile diets (good survival 36%)
Enough technical information for larval and juvenile production
(stocking densities, diet type, feeding rates ect..)
Commercial size (350-450 g) can be reached in 12-18 months.
Several private and social farms are growing this species in cages
There was a big problems with discoloration of skin, solved with diet
Some diseases problems in cage culture
Market: national, mainly in the Pacific.
Price >$6/kg.

Source: Dr Leonardo Ibarra

Snapper Production
Yellowtail snapper (Ocyurus chrysurus)
2010: 125,000 juveniles
2012: 240,00 juveniles
Commercial production
Slow growth
Huchinango (Lutjanus peru)
Broodstock in captivity in La Paz
Successful spawning and larval rearing
Difficulties with first feed (prey size)
Commercial hatchery and growout
White Sea bass
(Atractoscion nobilis)
Very high potential for this species in
in the North-east Mxico
There are no current broodstocks in
Well develop culture techiniqes @
HUBBS-Sea World, San Diego, CA,
Excess production that is sold to farms
in Baja California, Mexico
Several farms have grown this species
with good results
Red drum
(Sciaenops occelatus)
Commercial hatchery in Campeche
2,500,000 juveniles produced and stocked
Grow-out in cage culture system
Locally produce diets
Problems with high densities in cages
Estimated production 2,000 to 3,000 MT
Actual 500 MT
Stripped bass
(Morone saxatilis)
Although is a fresh water species can be acclimated to
saltwater in the juveniles stage and grown in cages
Species with high potential
One commercial hatchery with spawning broodstock
established in Ensenada, Baja California
(current production 1,000,000 juveniles)
Well established reproduction, larval culture and grow-out
techniques from the US
Imported feeds from the US and Canada
Several farms have evaluated the potential of this species and
one is currently growing with imported juveniles
imp 100,000 => stocked 1,5 million
2014 production was 35 MT
Expected 2015 120 MT and 2016 1,500 MT
Snook: Centropomus undecimalis
Broodstock in captivity (UNAM-Sisal, CIAD)
Controlled reproduction
Larval production 70,000 juveniles in 2010
One farm is currently growing the juveniles and
evaluating the culture feasibility

Source: Dr. Leonardo Ibarra

Blue fin tuna
(Thunnus orientalis)
Began in 1997 @ Isla Cedros, then 1998 in
Depends on wild caught juveniles
Fed sardines to increase lipid level in tissue
(sashimi quality)
Difficulty in accepting formulated feeds
Exported to Japan (up to 40 USD/kg)
By the year 2005, there were 10 granted permits
Production has fluctuated around 5,000 MT
Sales of up to $50 million USD
One stock of future broostock @ BajaAquafarms
California halibut (Paralichthys californicus)
Established broodstock population (CICESE)
Yearly spawning
Established larval production (40,000/year; potential for 250,000)
Weaning and early juvenile diets
Enough technical information for larval and juvenile culture
(stocking densities, diet type, feeding rates ect..)
We have the capacity for a technology transfer
Harvest weight (800 g) can be reach in 18 to 24 months
Two farms have evaluated its potential: not convinced of $
Market: export product (live). Small but very lucrative local
market. Price: >$15-20/kg.
Some bacterial diseases have been reported
Lack a locally produced diets to make production cost effective
California halibut spwaning at CICESE
Actual grow out in tanks

Peso (g)

400 Alcanzado


0 100 200 300 400
Dias de Cultivo

CICESE: working to develop : all female population

Puffer fish
(Sphoeroides annulatus)
Controlled reproduction @ (CIAD, CREMES)
Larval production of (40,000/year; potential for 200,000)
Weaning and early juvenile diets
Enough technical information for larval and juvenile production
(stocking densities, diet type, feeding rates ect..)
Commercial size (500-800 g) can be reached in 18-24 month.
No commercial grow-out at the moment
Reported diseases problems when culture in cages
Market: good for export, local market small. Price: >$11/kg
Considered a slow growing species

Source: Dr. Aramando Garcia

Overall Blottlenecks
Poorly oriented aquaculture development strategies
Lack of a continued support from alternate governments
Few hatcheries with broodstock (lack of more private
sector investing)
Lack of local/national production of species specific diets
Little knowledge of diseases and treatments
We need more partnership and flow of information
between research and producers
Need to open markets with the trade-mark in Sustainably
Produced in Mxico ( $)
Very complicated and slow legislation
Marine fish culture is finally taking-off in Mexico
We have sufficient technical knowledege and skills to develop
the industry (to many species?)
The goverment has finally recognized the need to focus on few
species and invest in them (yellowtail, totoaba, snappers, drums)
It is a priority to locally produce growout diets for the speceis of
Need more hatcheries to produce engouh juveniles to develop
the industry (i.e., the chicken-egg conundrum)
Need to improve dieseas treaments
Very important to start closing the cicle and produce F2,F3..
Selection programes are warranted
Potential species for Ecuador
Yellowtail (Seriola rivoliana) Huayaipe
Drums (Fam. Sciaenidae) Curvinas
Snook (Centropomus nigrenses) Robalo
Snappers (Fam. Lutjanidae) Pargos
Flounders (Paralichthys woolmani) Lenguado
Concentrate on developing culture techniques for a few
native species
Initiate broodstock program as soon as possible
Research larval culture techniques and weaning strategies
for each species
Determine nutritional requirements (i.e., amino acids and
fatty acids, E:P rations)
Evaluate digestibility of local ingredients and produce local
Create synergy between researchers, producers and
government to develop adequate legislation
Train pathologist fort the near future problems
Try avoiding importing exotic species
Benjamin Baron (CICESE) Leonardo Ibarra (CIAD)
Francisco Nieto Gustavo de la Rosa
Araceli Aviles Quevedo Roberto Flores (Baja Seas)
(CRIP) Armando Villareal (Pacifico
Armando Garcia (U. Hawaii) Aquaculture)
Vincente Gracia (CIBNOR) Luis Gonzales Agraz (B.C.
German Ibarra (ISA- Gob)

Lorenzo Juarez