The qualitative and quantitative description of growth and condition of silver kob, A. inodorus
Schoonbee, Willem Lodewyk
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The development of basic husbandry techniques and determining basic performance parameters are among the first steps towards culturing a new species. Silver kob, Argyrosomus inodorus, is a large Sciaenid and endemic to South Africa and Namibia and has been selected as a candidate aquaculture species. However, the proposed culture raises many questions, with two of them being the adaptability to captive conditions and product quality in the captive raised fish. To address these, trials were set up with eighty-three silver kob, divided into three ponds and fed three different diets. The effects of the diet on performance and quality were determined over a nine month trial period. The fish fed the pilchard diet adapted faster to the captive conditions than the fish fed the artificial diets. The growth of these fish were also markedly better than that of the fish fed the artificial diets, although after the adaptation period, the growth rate of the fish fed the artificial diets surpassed that of the fish fed the pilchards. Fifteen fish, five from each treatment were sacrificed and compared on a chemical and sensory level to wild-caught fish (control, n=6). Differences (p≤0.05) were noted in the total lipid content and fatty acid composition between the fish fed the different diets and the control. Sensory analysis revealed that the fish fed pilchards differed (p≤0.05) from the other groups by having an undesirable odour and flavour. The body partitioning and the proximate chemical composition of silver kob were determined. The length-weight relationship for silver kob raised in captivity was determined and a b-value of 3.32 was obtained, which indicates allometric growth with the fish becoming more rotund as their length increases. The results of these trials indicates that silver kob, A. inodorus adapts in captive conditions. The final product also compares favourably to wild-caught fish. The use of digital image analysis as a method of determining fish condition was also assessed with promising results for future application in research and production systems.