HATCHERY Feed & Management Vol 10 Issue 2 2022

Page 16


Optimizing aquaculture performance starts with early stage nutrition Delphine Weissman, ADM

Proper nutrition is essential for a strong start and lifelong development in many animal species, from humans to fish and shrimp. Feed quality for early life stages affects not only growth and performance in the larvae to juvenile phases but also throughout growout stages to harvest (Fig. 1). Therefore, maximizing success and profit in aquaculture hinges on optimized early feeding.

Early stage growth and development Organ development happens at different rates within young animals, with physiological changes occurring in relation to proportional changes in body size. This is known as allometry. In human babies, for instance, exponential brain growth during the first 1,000 days of life is a critical time when nutrients to maximize neural health and development must be prioritized (Valentine, 2020). Similarly, not all organs grow simultaneously in newly hatched fish (Osse et al., 1997) and consequently, growth intensity is not distributed uniformly across the body (Fuiman, 1983). Postembryonic structural

changes also exist in species that do not undergo metamorphosis, at varying degrees depending on the species (Fujimura et al., 2007). In fish, these changes enable the progressive transformation from recently hatched larvae to juvenile to adult. They are described in tilapia (Fujimura et al., 2007) and mullet fish (Khemis et al., 2013). Khemis et al. detailed three growth episodes distinguished by allometric inflexions in newly hatched mullet fish from dph1 to dph71. The first episode includes the development of the cephalic region. A fast allometry growth of the head is observed, with eye and vision development, increased mouth size and the transition from cutaneous to gill respiration. The second allometry episode includes the development of locomotion organs, such as the tail and fins. In the third episode, axial musculature develops: the fillets start to grow. All these developments enable the fish to better detect feed particles, ingest them, swim quickly and precisely, and have an efficient oxygen supply to swim toward feed particles.

Figure 1. The nursery stage of aquaculture production includes phases from larvae to juvenile.

Hatchery Feed & Management Vol 10 Issue 2 2022

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