|Mariculture of Black Sea Bass for the Sushi Market
The black sea bass, Centropristis striata, is an important commercial and recreational fish along the east coast of the U.S. Live, two pound black sea bass sell in the US and Canadian sushi markets for $.50 to $3.50 per pound, with prices occasionally going as high as $16.00 per pound. Black sea bass supplied to the sushi and seafood markets are primarily caught by pot traps placed offshore and supply does not meet demand. There have been recent modifications of fishery regulations to restrict the landings of this fish. Earlier work by Marine Extension Service at the University of Georgia on Skidaway Island showed that the small black sea bass could be raised to adult using pelleted food. Our group at Skidaway Institute designed and tested a recirculating system using greenhouses both for hatchery (grow larval black sea bass to juveniles) and grow out facilities (juveniles to two-pound adults). A low cost biosolar filter system, based on microbial mats and fluidized sand filters, removes ammonia and solid wastes from the fish tanks (see figure above). Instead of pellets, the black sea bass are fed on live juvenile tilapia, which decreases the amount of solid waste produced resulting in sea water remaining clear. Tilapia are raised in separate tanks with reproduction taking place approximately every two weeks so there is always a ready supply of both tilapia fry and juveniles for the hatchery and grow out facilities. Black sea bass can be raised from larvae to two-pound adults in approximately one year using this system. Working with a sushi chef in Savannah, GA, a sushi taste panel had a very favorable response to black sea bass slices. Work continues on this project to determine if a small industry can be developed along the Georgia coast to grow and market black sea bass using greenhouse based recirculating systems.