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The effect of dietary lipid content and stress on egg quality in farmed Atlantic cod Gadus morhua


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The present study assessed differences in fecundity and egg quality from Atlantic cod Gadus morhua fed isoproteic diets containing 13% fat (low fat, LF) or 20% fat (high fat, HF) and either stressed or left unstressed as a control over the spawning season. Each diet was fed to triplicate groups of G. morhua from June 2009, through to first maturation and spawning. In January 2010 sub-groups of G. morhua were moved to land-based spawning tanks where the experimental trial was carried out. At the start of the experiment, G. morhua fed the high-fat diet were significantly larger than G. morhua fed low-fat diet. These differences were maintained through the spawning season, although with a loss of mass in both dietary groups. Relative fecundity through the season was significantly lower in stressed G. morhua fed LF compared to unstressed G. morhua fed the same diet. Stressed G. morhua had a higher variability in weekly amount of eggs spawned, spawning occurred more irregularly, and the spawning period lasted longer than in unstressed G. morhua. Several egg quality variables were also affected: eggs from G. morhua fed LF and exposed to stress had lower fertilization and hatching rates compared to the unstressed G. morhua fed the same diet as well as all G. morhua fed HF. Gadus morhua fed a low-fat diet appeared less tolerant to stress than fish fed a high-fat diet.