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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 12:139-151 (2020)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00356

Growth, health and biochemical composition of the sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa after multi-year holding in effluent waters of land-based salmon culture

Jiamin Sun1,*, Jean-François Hamel2, Bruno L. Gianasi1, Mike Graham3, Annie Mercier1

1Department of Ocean Sciences, Memorial University, St John’s, NL, A1C 5S7, Canada
2Society for the Exploration and Valuing of the Environment (SEVE), St. Philips, NL, A1M 2B7, Canada
3Burin Campus, College of the North Atlantic, Burin, NL, A0E 1G0, Canada
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Methods have been proposed to mitigate the environmental footprint of aquaculture, including co-culture of species occupying different trophic levels. In this study, sea cucumbers Cucumaria frondosa, either from production tanks fed with effluent water from land-based salmon culture over 4 yr or collected from the field, were compared using stable isotope, lipid and fatty acid (FA) signatures as indicators of waste assimilation, health and biochemical composition. Enrichment of δ13C in muscle bands and intestine and of δ15N in muscle bands, gonad and intestine was detected in captive individuals relative to wild individuals, suggesting the uptake and assimilation of waste from salmon culture. The higher levels of FA biomarkers typical of salmon feed (18:1ω9, 18:2ω6 and 20:1ω9) and lower ω3/ω6 ratio in the captive sea cucumbers were also in line with assimilation of the waste. However, male and female sea cucumbers from the co-culture became smaller with time, their organ indices were lower than those of wild individuals (e.g. poorly developed gonad), and their biochemical composition differed: triacylglycerol content was greater in wild individuals and phospholipid content was greater in captive individuals. Also, FA profiles of all tissues differed between the 2 groups, whereas total lipid in muscle bands and gonad remained similar. Overall, results support that co-culture with suspension-feeding sea cucumbers may help mitigate the salmon industry footprint. In turn, the biochemical composition of the sea cucumbers changed, and their reduced size and body indices suggest that this food source does not provide suitable nutrients to sustain growth and reproduction.


KEY WORDS: Co-culture · Holothuroid · Suspension-feeder · Salmon · IMTA · Stable isotope · Fatty acid


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Cite this article as: Sun J, Hamel JF, Gianasi BL, Graham M, Mercier A (2020) Growth, health and biochemical composition of the sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa after multi-year holding in effluent waters of land-based salmon culture. Aquacult Environ Interact 12:139-151. https://doi.org/10.3354/aei00356

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