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Senegalese sole. (Photo: University of Stirling)

Fish’s personality detection could boost aquaculture production

  (UNITED KINGDOM, 11/11/2016)

Aquaculture experts from the University of Stirling  have found that the way the Senegalese sole copes with stress is determined by their personality, which remains consistent regardless of the situation they are in.

These scientists, who reached this conclusion after conducting a study to test stress copying styles in mature Senegalese sole, hope their analysis will help farmers screen fish from a young age to help the species reproduce in captivity and improve aquaculture production.

The researchers found that when faced with confinement, restraint or a new environment, both juveniles and breeders had similar behavioural patterns and levels of activity, showing consistent responses in animals of different ages.

They aslo noted a correlation between how individuals with the same sort of personality acted across the various tests, suggesting that those who are reactive and fearful or proactive and curious, maintain this behaviour.

“Senegalese sole (Solea senegalensis) is a very valuable fish farmed across Europe, however first generation males’ failure to reproduce is still a problem affecting production of the species. Animals who are proactive and try to explore are likely to reproduce in captivity so it’s important these fish can be identified at a young age,” pointed out Dr Sonia Rey Planellas, Research Fellow in the Institute of Aquaculture.

Dr. Planellas stated that the Operational Behavioural Screening tests that they used can be replicated by fish farmers to help establish selection-based breeding programmes and easily identify fish that deal best with stress and will be able to reproduce more successfully in a variety of environments.

The research, which also involved researchers from the Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology (IRTA) in Catalonia and the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, is published in Royal Society Open Science.


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