A New bio-index for the assessment of stress condition in cultured marine fish.

The aim of the proposed project is to develop non-invasive, reliable and relatively simple procedures for detecting general and specific stress effects in fish reared in aquaculture. Within the general research framework the project aims at two interrelated objectives: …
To detect, analyse and quantify stress effects, under both laboratory and fish farm conditions, in two Mediterranean marine fish species, gilthead seabream (Sparus auratus) and European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), which are of major economic importance for European aquaculture, using as parameters changes in the skin and gill epithelia, and the mucus layer covering the skin: (a) changes in tissue morphology (b) enzymatic activity in skin and skin mucus (c) concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in blood serum and skin mucus and (d) non-enzymatic biochemical parameters in skin mucus samples. The stressors to be applied are relevant for aquaculture.

To select subsequently the analytical methods and stress parameters that will prove to be reliable and easy to perform, using a sampling procedure from which the sampled fish can easily recover. The selected methods will be combined as bio-indicators through the establishment of a new stress-index, the “Fish Stress Condition Index” (FISCI), that will enable the characterisation of stress condition in cultured fish and will reflect both fish health and water quality.

This will provide fish farmers with a protocol method to check the stress condition of their fish.

[DG/XIV/EU/FAIR-PL- CT-98/4217]

Final Report