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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 7:193-203 (2015)  -  DOI:

Husbandry and environmental conditions explain temporal variability of wild fish assemblages aggregated around a Mediterranean fish farm

Mateo Ballester-Moltó1, Pablo Sanchez-Jerez2, Benjamín García-García1, Felipe Aguado-Giménez1,*

1Instituto Murciano de Investigación y Desarrollo Agrario y Alimentario, Estación de Acuicultura Marina, Puerto de San Pedro del Pinatar, 30740 Murcia, Spain
2Departamento de Ciencias del Mar y Biología Aplicada, Universidad de Alicante, PO Box 99, 03080 Alicante, Spain
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The aggregation of wild fish around fish farms is spatially and temporally variable in terms of species composition and structure. In general, temporal variability has been less well studied than the spatial aspect of these aggregations. We analyzed temporal variability at different scales following a hierarchical sampling design, with year, season and time of day as the main factors, with the levels of the latter factor corresponding with feeding intensity at the farm. Environmental and production variables were considered, such as water temperature, photoperiod, feed supplied, number of stocked fish and stocked biomass. Dominant fish species were analyzed separately to determine possible segregation processes. The most relevant sources of variation in abundance and assemblage structure were seasonal changes among years and hourly changes with different feeding intensities between seasons. Feed supplied was the production variable that best explained the temporal pattern with respect to abundance, and this variable, combined with hours of daylight, determined the assemblage structure. Liza ramada and Sarpa salpa dominated the assemblage in winter and were always aggregated around the farm. Boops boops, Oblada melanura and Sardinella aurita dominated the assemblage in spring, summer and autumn, showing a marked seasonal pattern. These 3 species, although present around the farm most of the year, displayed periods of distinct maximum abundance corresponding to their reproductive period. This study emphasizes the importance of determining the temporal patterns in abundance of dominant species in order to better understand the interaction between fish farming and wild fish assemblages, and to ascertain the contribution of wild fish to the recycling of aquaculture-derived wastes.

KEY WORDS: Fish farming · Husbandry · Photoperiod · Supplied feed · Temporal variability · Wild fish assemblage

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Cite this article as: Ballester-Moltó M, Sanchez-Jerez P, García-García B, Aguado-Giménez F (2015) Husbandry and environmental conditions explain temporal variability of wild fish assemblages aggregated around a Mediterranean fish farm. Aquacult Environ Interact 7:193-203.

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