Effects of taurine status in fish broodstock onto fertility and weaned juvenile production

End Date: 7/31/2017


Whether considering on-growing of food fish species or fisheries stock enhancement programs, juvenile production is widely recognized as a major bottleneck in the further development of hatchery programs. Taurine has garnered a high interest and has been identified as an essential nutrient in a number of teleost species, including Florida pompano and California yellowtail. However, taurine is not currently listed as an allowed feed supplement by the FDA. Moreover, much of the available data concerns juvenile and larval stages. There is a great dearth of information on the roles of taurine in maturation and egg and larval quality. This project aims at filling this gap, which is critical to strengthen a petition to the FDA to allow the use of taurine in dietary formulations in aquaculture.

This project has two main objectives: 1) in collaboration with the Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute (HSWRI) and Marine Resources Division (MRD) of Alabama, spawn broodstock of California yellowtail and Florida pompano under taurine-supplemented and unsupplemented diets, followed by the culture of resulting larvae also under supplemented or unsupplemented feeding regimen, and 2) coordinate and organize communication between stakeholders in order to gather all pertinent information about the use of taurine in aquaculture feeds and initiate the procedure for a taurine approval petition by the FDA. We hypothesize that taurine supplementation in broodstock diets will improve production of weaned juveniles. Husbandry parameters and egg and larval composition will be measured to test this hypothesis. Our goal is to alleviate the bottleneck of larval mortality. Results will be communicated through peer-reviewed publication and conference presentations. Additionally, by collaborating with HSWRI and MRD, new protocols can be implemented rapidly. The approval of taurine by the FDA will enable more sustainable and better-performing feeds in aquaculture operations throughout the nation, from stock enhancement programs to fish farmers.