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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

    AEI prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

    Jiamin Sun*, Jean-Fran├žois Hamel, Bruno L. Gianasi, Mike Graham, Annie Mercier

    *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 held in 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 are 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: triacylglycerols (TAG) content was greater in wild individuals and phospholipids (PL) content was greater in captive individuals. Also, FA profiles of all the 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.