Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Waste feed from coastal fish farms: a trophic subsidy with compositional side-effects for wild gadoids

By Damian Fernandez-Jover, Laura Martínez Rubio, Pablo Sanchez-Jerez, Just T. Bayle-Sempere, José Ángel López-Jiménez, Francisco Javier Martínez-López, Pal-Arne Bjørn, Ingebrigt Uglem and Tim Dempster


Aquaculture of carnivorous fish species in sea-cages typically uses artificial feeds, with a proportion of these feeds lost to the surrounding environment. This lost resource may provide a trophic subsidy to wild fish in the vicinity of fish farms, yet the physiological consequences of the consumption of waste feed by wild fish remain unclear. In two regions in Norway with intensive aquaculture, we tested whether wild saithe (Pollachius virens) and Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) associated with fish farms (Fassoc), where waste feed is readily available, had modified diets, condition and fatty acid (FA) compositions in their muscle and liver tissues compared to fish unassociated (UA) with farms. Stomach content analyses revealed that both cod and saithe consumed waste feed in the vicinity of farms (6–96% of their diet was composed of food pellets). This translated into elevated body and liver condition compared to fish caught distant from farms for cod at both locations and elevated body condition for saithe at one of the locations. As a consequence of a modified diet, we detected significantly increased concentrations of terrestrial-derived fatty acids (FAs) such as linoleic (18:2ω6) and oleic (18:1ω9) acids and decreased concentrations of DHA (22:6ω3) in the muscle and/or liver of Fassoc cod and saithe when compared with UA fish. In addition, the ω3:ω6 ratio clearly differed between Fassoc and UA fish. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) correctly classified 97% of fish into Fassoc or UA origin for both cod and saithe based on the FA composition of liver tissues, and 89% of cod and 86% of saithe into Fassoc or UA origin based on the FA composition of muscle. Thus, LDA appears a useful tool for detecting the influence of fish farms on the FA composition of wild fish. Ready availability of waste feed with high protein and fat content provides a clear trophic subsidy to wild fish in coastal waters, yet whether the accompanying side-effect of altered fatty acid compositions affects physiological performance or reproductive potential requires further research

Topics: Aquaculture, Salmon aquaculture, Fatty acids, Cod, Gadus morhua, Saithe, Pollachius virens, Wild fish, Nutritional condition, Impact, Zoología, Ecología
Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.ecss.2010.12.009
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.