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Modification in Body Fat Content and Fatty Acid Profile of Wild Yellow Shortfin Eel, Anguilla australis, through Short-term Fattening

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Abstract

Wild-catch eels with low fat content are either not accepted at all or accepted as a lower-quality and less valuable product in the global eel market. This study was undertaken with the goal of increasing the fat content of yellow shortfin eel, Anguilla australis (104 ± 11 g initial weight), captured in the wild and kept in captivity for a short period, as well as assessing their rate of growth. An 86-d feeding trial was conducted indoors in a recirculation aquaculture system, at 25.5 ± 1.6 C. Two commercial extruded dry feeds were tested; one formulated for European eel and one not specifically intended for use on eels. Good values of specific growth rate (1.10 and 1.12%/d) and feed conversion ratio (1.01 and 1.10) were achieved with both tested feeds. At the end of the trial, eels achieved 20–22% total fat, starting from wild fish with 7% fat content. Fat quality of the fattened eel was appreciably superior (higher proportion of omega-3 fatty acids) than the fat of eels captured in the wild. The results of this study are encouraging for the prospect of fattening yellow shortfin eels and obtaining a market-oriented eel product.

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