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Speckled T rout Aquaculture. Speckled Trout (also known as Speckled Seatrout) . Taxonomy: Cyoscion nebulosus Adults reach 19-25 inches in length and 1-4 pounds in weight Reside in virtually any inshore waters . Distribution. Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic Ocean

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speckled trout also known as speckled seatrout
Speckled Trout (also known as Speckled Seatrout)
  • Taxonomy: Cyoscionnebulosus
  • Adults reach 19-25 inches in length and 1-4 pounds in weight
  • Reside in virtually any inshore waters
  • Gulf of Mexico and Southern Atlantic Ocean
  • Live in the top of the water column
  • Estuarine coasts are prime settlement areas
  • Often found in shallow tidal creeks near flooded salt marshes
  • Known to congregate heavily over oyster reefs
economic importance fishing
Economic Importance-Fishing
  • Speckled Trout are endorsed by the American Fishing Society
  • Caught both commercially and recreationally, although the majority caught is due to recreational fishing (premier sport fish)
  • According to NOAA, speckled trout are in the top 10 species for recreational fishing
  • It ranks second by weight among recreational saltwater anglers mainly in the southeastern United States.

In South Carolina, the species was officially declared a game fish on July 1, 1986.

    • Game Fish status means that this species caught in state waters cannot be bought or sold
  • recreational catch for spotted seatrout averaged 266,000 individuals per year over an 11-year period.
  • The population of spotted seatrout in state waters is declining, albeit slowly, due to increased fishing pressure.
  • NEED for Aquaculture: YES-stock enhancement


need for program
Need for Program
  • As human populations increase, greater pressure is placed on marine fisheries resources through habitat destruction and demand for food and recreation.
  • Two-thirds of harvested marine species for which data exist are either at or below the levels required for sustainability.
  • Marine resource management agencies are seeking reliable procedures for enhancing populations of heavily fished species and for assessing the success and value of stocking programs.
  • *http://www.usm.edu/gcrl/research/seatrout_main.php
example culture of spotted seatrout for a pilot stocking program at gcrl
Example: Culture of Spotted Seatrout for a Pilot Stocking Program at GCRL
  • 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 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.
growth and development
Growth and Development

Embryo (<1mm)

Day 1 (~2mm)

milestones in the growth and development of seatrout cultured at gcrl
Milestones in the Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL

Day 10 (~5mm)

Day 15 (~10mm)

milestones in the growth and development of seatrout cultured at gcrl1
Milestones in the Growth and Development of Seatrout Cultured at GCRL

Day 24 (~25mm)

Day 70 (~10cm)

production methods
Production Methods
  • 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.

  • *Fluidized Bed Filter
  • RAS system

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.

production methods summarized
Production Methods Summarized
  • Brood Stock Acquisition: hook and line, coolers for transport, stress-coat: O2. (never out of water)
  • Quarantine: primary tanks, freshwater dip, drug treatment, secondary tanks (feeding)
    • Purpose: exclude diseases
  • Maturation:
    • ~50 animals
    • 2 tanks for spawning
    • Fed shrimp, squid, cigar minnows three times a week
  • Typically extensive culture
water chemistry
Water Chemistry
  • Temperature and photoperiod cycle to mimic natural cycle
  • Spawning water temperature: 24-29 C
  • Optimum temperature for adults: 15-27 C
  • Spawning salinity peak: 30-35ppt
  • Oxygen: cannot be below 5 ppm
  • *http://www.sms.si.edu/irlspec/cynosc_nebulo.html (smithsonian)
  • Being an extensive species there isn’t as much risk
  • Above carrying capacity
  • Skilled labor
  • Usually expensive
    • Technology
    • Educational background etc.
  • Collection and quarantine system
  • Husbandry procedures for brood stock development
  • Live food production
  • Tag and Release System