Biology and aquaculture of gilthead seabream and related species
University of Crete
Department of Biology
Constantinos C. Mylonas
Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Institute of Aquaculture
The family of Sparidae --sea breams and porgies-- is a moderately sized, but morphologically and ecologically highly diverse family of percoid fishes. Sparids are widely distributed, highly appreciated and of commercial significance for both fisheries and aquaculture in many areas around the world. The history of red sea bream (Pagrus major) aquaculture in Japan is the oldest among marine fishes, while the domestication of gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) that started in Europe in the 70's resulted in the development of a large-scale industry in the Mediterranean Region, and beyond. Fueled by the interest in their cultivation, sparid fishes have been used as models in studying various aspects of fish biology. For example, a large body of basic research produced significant knowledge in the area of reproduction, especially in the area of hermaphroditism that is a major characteristic of the Sparidae family. This book aims to gather, for the first time, the published information in one volume, by presenting the current knowledge in the evolution, biology, physiology and culture of sparid fishes, drawing heavily in some parts from the extensive research undertaken with the gilthead seabream. The book covers both generic aspects and main production obstacles in the currently cultured species, and it is organized with a balance in mind between basic and applied aspects of Sparidae biology and farming. It is targeted towards fish biologists and aquaculture professionals, as well as stakeholders involved in fisheries management and aquaculture. It will also be a useful reference for students enrolling in the field of aquaculture and management of marine recourses.
The book begins with coverage of the status of fisheries and aquaculture production of the most economically valuable sparids, and includes a chapter on the phylogeny, evolution and taxonomy also of species than are not necessarily of interest to the aquaculture industry. Throughout the book, basic biology information intertwines with applied aspects of aquaculture production, in an effort not only to better understand the biology of these fishes, but also to enhance and optimize the husbandry methods and production efficiency of the aquaculture industry. A thorough coverage is provided on aspects of reproduction and broodstock management; early development and metabolism, and nutrition and feeding in culture conditions; and pigmentation physiology and discoloration problems in captivity, since the color of some sparid fishes is an important recognition criterion for the consumer. More directly related to the aquaculture environment are the chapters providing information on production systems, skeletal deformities, stress physiology and welfare, and diseases and health management. Understanding the need to fully "domesticate" the sparid species under culture today and the role that selective breeding programs must play in the improvement in production efficiency of the aquaculture industry, the final chapter deals with genetic improvement and genomic-proteomic research in members of the Sparidae, with emphasis in the gilthead seabream.