Enhanced production of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus in integrated open-water cultivation with Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Elizabeth Cook, Maeve Kelly

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Survivorship and performance was investigated for two size classes of the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus grown adjacent to open-water Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) cultivation on the north-west coast of Scotland. Juvenile P. lividus were maintained for 12 months at 0 m, 50 m and 2.5 km from the mariculture activity. The sea urchins at the 0 m station showed higher survivorship than at the 50 m and 2.5 km stations and had significantly greater test diameter than at the 50 m station. Only urchins at 0 m developed gonads and, although small, these were of acceptable or excellent colouration in terms of their marketability. Adult P. lividus were maintained for 3 months at 0 m and 15 m from the mariculture activity, either with or without additional macroalgae Laminaria spp. Sea urchins at the 0 m station and fed additional macroalgae showed higher gonadal growth than sea urchins at the 15 m station held without additional food. Gonad colouration in the adult urchins, irrespective of the treatment, was acceptable or excellent. The 0 m station also received significantly greater quantities of particulate organic matter (POM) than the other stations in both the juvenile and adult experiments. At the 0 m station, the presence of the fatty acid 22:1n-11 and elevated levels of the long chain n-3 fatty acid DHA 22:6n-3 in the gonadal tissue of the urchins confirmed the consumption of fish farm derived POM and highlighted the potential human health benefits from consuming sea urchin roe. The results show that P. lividus can thrive in the salmon culture environment and suggests that the integration of P lividus with Atlantic salmon can provide a viable means to culture this species, even at this northerly latitude. Salmon-sea urchin co-culture would enable fish farms to diversify into producing a second highly valuable product and would reduce the increasing worldwide pressure of sea urchin fisheries on wild stocks. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-585
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007



  • DIET
  • Marine & Freshwater Biology
  • Fisheries

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