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Blood performance: a new formula for fish growth and health

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 00:05 authored by Mohammad Esmaeili
Monitoring fish health in a repeatable and accurate manner can contribute to the profitability and sustainability of aquaculture. Haematological and blood biochemistry parameters have been powerful tools and becoming increasingly common in aquaculture studies. Fish growth is closely related to its health status. A fish with a higher growth rate is more likely to be a healthy one. Any change in the physiological status of the fish, from pollution to nutritional stress, can cause changes in the blood parameters. Various aquaculture studies have measured the following components: red blood cells, white blood cells, haemoglobin, haematocrit, and total protein. However, because these parameters do not always follow the same trend across experimental fish, it is difficult to draw a firm conclusion about which parameter should be considered. Therefore, Blood Performance (BP) as a new formula is introduced, which is a more reliable indicator. This formula is simple and sums up the natural logarithm of the five above-mentioned parameters. More than 90 published peer-reviewed articles that measured these five parameters in the last six years confirmed the reliability and validity of this formula. Regardless of which supplements were added to the diets, the fish with a higher growth rate had higher BP as well. In addition, in 44 studies out of 53 articles, there was a significant positive correlation between specific growth rate and BP. Under different stressful situations, from pollution to thermal stress, the fish under stress had a lower BP than the control. Fish meal and fish oil replacement studies were further evidence for this formula and showed that adding excessive alternative proteins decreased growth along with BP. In conclusion, BP can be a reliable indicator of fish health and growth when it is compared between groups in the same experiment or farm. Although there was a positive correlation between specific growth rate and BP, comparing BP between experiments is not recommended. Standardising the haematological assays can improve the reliability and accuracy of BP across experiments.


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Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies



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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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