Culture of Spotted Seatrout for a Pilot Stocking Program

This project, a partnership between GCRL and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, is testing the effectiveness of using hatchery-raised fish to enhance Mississippi's seatrout population. The spotted seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus, known locally as speckled trout, is one of Mississippi’s premier sport fishes.

Personnel

Need for Program

Marine Aquaculture and Fisheries at GCRL

Seatrout Culture at GCRL

The goal of the project is to develop the methods to acquire, maintain and spawn broodstock of spotted seatrout in order to facilitate production, rearing, tagging, releasing and assessing of juveniles in a stocking program.

We began developing the seatrout program in 2004 with Tidelands Trust Funds administered by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

Results

Benefits

This project is the initial effort of the Seatrout Population Enhancement Cooperative (SPEC), launched at a workshop held in May 2004 at Gulf Hills Hotel and Conference Center in Ocean Springs.

Picture Gallery

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Newly collected seatrout arrives at GCRL quarantine facility. Seatrout are initially treated to remove external parasites that may multiply and kill fish in closed systems.

Newly collected seatrout arrives at GCRL quarantine facility. Seatrout are initially treated to remove external parasites that may multiply and kill fish in closed systems.

The seatrout are held 30 days in this quarantine facility to ensure the removal of external parasites.

The seatrout are held 30 days in this quarantine facility to ensure the removal of external parasites.

Trout in quarantine.

Trout in quarantine. GCRL hatchery program

Early in the project, researchers used catheters to determine sex and take samples from the females to monitor the development of eggs. The degree of egg development, or maturation, indicates how close the fish are to spawning.

Early in the project, researchers used catheters to determine sex and take samples from the females to monitor the development of eggs. The degree of egg development, or maturation, indicates how close the fish are to spawning.
Tanks holding broodstock under controlled temperature and photoperiod conditions that induce spawning. Tanks holding broodstock under controlled temperature and photoperiod conditions that induce spawning.

Spotted seatrout broodstock in the maturation system.

Spotted seatrout broodstock in the maturation system.

 

Milestones in the Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Embryo (<1 mm)

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Day 1 (~2 mm)

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Day 10 (~5 mm)

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Day 15 (~10 mm)

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Day 24 (~25 mm)

Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL, speckled trout, speckle trout

Day 70 (~10 cm)

 

From Hatchery to Release

 
The seatrout larval rearing facility where newly hatched larvae are maintained for the first 24 days. The seatrout larval rearing facility where newly hatched larvae are maintained for the first 24 days.
Seatrout growout facilities where fish are maintained from day 25 until tagging and release. Seatrout growout facilities where fish are maintained from day 25 until tagging and release.
Insertion of coded-wire tag into an approximately 70-day old seatrout. Insertion of coded-wire tag into an approximately 70-day old seatrout.
Gravity-flow release system. Gravity-flow release system.
Juvenile trout release. Juvenile speckled trout release.

Our partner

 

We thank the members of the Mississippi Legislature who provided funding for this initiative through the state's Tidelands Program. We also thank the Mississippi Coast Conservation Association for their continued support for this work.