Marine finfish aquaculture relies on the use of live feeds to provide first feeding fish larvae with living prey of the appropriate size and nutritional profile. Calanoid copepod nauplii , particularly Parvocalanus crassirostris , are the natural prey of many first-feeding fish larvae in the wild and are smaller and more nutritious than the conventional live feeds of rotifers and Artemia . The use of copepod nauplii has enabled the culture of a growing number of difficult to rear fish species such as coral grouper, blue-fin trevally, red snapper, flame angelfish and yellow tang (to name a few). Additionally, fish species that don 't traditionally require copepods (such as pacific threadfin and mullet) have shown increased survival when their rearing protocol is supplemented with copepod nauplii. Despite significant improvements in growth and larval survival in many marine fish species, the inherent challenges of producing copepod nauplii in sufficient quantities has limited their use in the commercial sector.
The Oceanic Institute has overcome some of the challenges of large scale, intensive copepod production and has developed a system capable of producing over 100 million nauplii per day. The system consists of three 1500L tanks stocked with ~ 2 adult copepods/mL and fed two live algae species: Tisochrysis lutea and Chaetoceros muelleri. Nauplii are harvested daily, and adult concentrations are adjusted daily. A separate maturation system consisting of ten 500L tanks produces mature adult copepods to supplement the production system.
The current system's daily nauplii production is highly variable. As of the submission of this abstract, the total nauplii production for the year 2019 averaged 51,812,099 per day ( SD = ± 16,921,412) . T he highest daily total nauplii production was 103.29 million and the lowest was 8.19 million. The highest daily nauplii production from a single 1500L tank was 39.09 million on May 18, 2019.