Welfare status of cage farmed European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax): A comparison between submerged and surface cages

Monica Celi, Tiziana Caruso, Giulia Maricchiolo, Rosa Bonaventura, Lucrezia Genovese, Valeria Matranga, Simone Mirto, Gabriella Caruso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Submersible sea-cages represent an alternative method to standard surface-based cages, and could help solveseveral production problems that exist in surface-based farming, such as heavy storms, algal and jellyfishblooms and attacks by predators.In this study, we investigated growth, haematological, biochemical and immunological parameters ofEuropean sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) farmed in surface and submersible cages, to compare thephysiological status under different rearing conditions. In addition, we evaluated the use of erythrocyte HSP70levels as a biomarker of fish welfare.The study was conducted in two submerged and two surface cages filled with D. labrax. No significant differenceswere observed in the growth rate and the relative condition factor between the two groups. Significantly higherlevels of serum cortisol, haematocrit plasma glucose and total plasma proteins were measured in surface-basedcages. Conversely, fish in submerged cages showed higher haemolytic activity and lysozyme levels in both mucusand kidney than surface reared sea bass.Results obtained in this study indicate that submergence could be a favorable condition for sea bass farming,suggesting mariculture in submerged net cages as a promising system that allows producers to minimize stress(included that from predation by fish-eating birds) and therefore favor animal welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

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