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The effect of demand feeding on swimming speed and feeding responses in Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L., gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata L. and European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax L. in sea cages

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Aquaculture Research ; Volume 33. p. 501–507. 2002

Andrew, Jennifer; Noble, Chris; Kadri, Sunil; Jewell, Helen; Huntingford, Felicity

Using underwater cameras, data were collected on the feeding behaviour and swimming speeds of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L., gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata L. and European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax L. in sea cages. Comparisons were made between the behaviours of fish fed on demand using interactive feedback systems and those of fish fed under the standard feeding practice of each farm (control). In all three species, swimming speeds were similar before feeding, but they were significantly higher in the control regimes during feeding. When fed on demand, sea bass had reduced swimming speed just before and during feeding compared with that observed during the non-feeding periods. Higher proportions of feeding fish were observed in the control regime cages than in fish fed on demand for all three species, indicating a greater feeding intensity during meals in the control regimes. This was further supported by observations of an increase in the density of sea bass in the upper water in the control cages during feeding. The results suggest decreased levels of competition between the on demand-fed fish during feeding, which might be hypothesized to lead to improved growth and production efficiency in aquaculture.

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