Environmentally conditioned, year-round volitional spawning of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) in broodstock maturation systems


Correspondence: John D. Stieglitz, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149, USA. E-mail: jstieglitz@rsmas.miami.edu


Year-round control of the spawning cycle of cobia (Rachycentron canadum) has been established by using water temperature manipulation. To compare the effectiveness of using this method to induce volitional spawning in cobia, two 80 m3 recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) were used. Temperatures in one of the maturation tanks (‘Mat 1’) were maintained between 27 and 29°C for 12 months of the 15.5-month study period. Temperatures in the second maturation tank (‘Mat 2’) were allowed to fluctuate naturally throughout the year and ranged from 20 to 32°C. A total of 101 spawning events occurred in the tanks between the spring of 2008 and the summer of 2009 (3 April 2008 to 17 June 2009). Of the 38 total spawning events in Mat 1, 17 of them (44.7% of all Mat 1 spawning events) occurred during the off-season (fall and winter). The egg viability rates did not differ significantly (> 0.05) between on- and off-season spawns in Mat 1. Conversely, cobia broodstock exposed to natural water temperatures (no environmental manipulation) in Mat 2 followed the natural pattern of warm water (>26°C) dependence, limiting egg production to spring and summer seasons. This method of water temperature manipulation allows for effective control of the cobia reproductive cycle without compromising egg viability.