Aquaculture America 2023

February 23 - 26, 2023

New Orleans, Louisiana USA


Daniel Benetti*, Tyler Sclodnick, Dennis Peters, Kent Satterlee, Ivan Puckett, Brian Quartano, Sara Hamann, Fabio dos Santos Neto, Jeena Bagget, Carlos Tudela.



*University of Miami

Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, & Earth Science

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway; Miami, FL  33149  USA



Biological, technological and market criteria have been evaluated to rank several pelagic, demersal, reef and coastal fish species for the Station Padre Aquaculture project development. Feasibility levels (experimental, technological and commercial/economical) were also considered according to species prospects for commercial aquaculture development using offshore net cages. Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), Almaco jack, also known as Kampachi (Seriola rivoliana), Pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), Red Snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), and Cobia (Rachycentrum canadum) were considered top candidate species for commercial aquaculture development in offshore systems in the area selected in the Gulf of Mexico and were ranked taking into consideration the characteristics of the site. We applied a methodology termed Aquaculture Performance Index (APIX) In short, the APIX equation considers the following basic criteria, each assigned different weights to calculate a respective final value: feasibility level, feed conversion rate, growth rate to market size, survival rate, stocking density, feed costs, fish processing yield and level, marketability (market demand and price). A full APIX equation was constructed to assign each species a final APIX score. Red Drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) was the top selected using this methodology. Even though Red Drum has a lower market value when compared to other fish species considered, it was found to be the most feasible for this operation since it thrives at the temperature range of the site (22 – 26 oC), allows for a much higher stocking density >30 kg/m3, and has a lower feed cost since good growth and survival results can be obtained using a high percentage of soy protein as a substitute for fish meal. In addition to that, there is a long history of Red Drum production in Texas, which makes fingerlings and feed readily available as well as an established market. As a competitive advantage, the Red Drum produced in the offshore cages will have a different taste (no off-flavor) when compared to pond-reared fish and for this reason, it has a possibility of being marketed as premium. However, we suggest a thorough market research to establish the price and run the economic analysis model for the species in offshore cages. The team is considering an innovative approach of conducting trials combining the proposed marine fish operation with seaweeds and/or bivalves culture in a Multi-Trophic Integrated Aquaculture (IMTA) system. The species of native bivalves and seaweeds were suggested on a commercial feasibility level basis and according to the temperature ranges of the site. The bivalve molluscs suggested were the Lion’s Paw scallop (Nodipecten nodosus), the Atlantic oyster (Crassostrea virginica) and the hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria). Euchema spp., Gracilaria spp., and Hypnea spp were the seaweed species suggested based upon their application for agar and carrageenan production among other potential uses (biostimulants, feed, cosmetics, etc).