ScienceFish - Cobia Aquaculture


Our mission as aquaculture and seafood quality partners and stakeholders is to promote economically sustainable and responsible aquaculture and seafood practices. Cobia (Rachycentron canadum, family Rachycentridae) is currently our main target species.

Cobia is one of the main marine fish aquaculture species in focus as this species fulfills all the criteria to be a successful aquaculture and marine fish farming candidate to be raised in Open Ocean Aquaculture Cages in many tropical and subtropical regions around the world. These essential criteria are:

1) Market Demand/Seafood Performance: Taste, Texture, Color, Versatility (sahimi, filets, steaks, etc.), Shelf Life, Freezing, and Nutritional Composition
2) Aquaculture Performance: Growth, Survival, Yield, and Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR).
3) Availability of Complete Production Technology
4) Native Distribution in Many Warm-Temperate to Tropical Oceans of the World
(Cobia Distribution Map)
5) Minor Existing Commercial Fisheries.
(developed in collaboration w/ D.D. Benetti)




Cobia Rachycentron canadum
(Dr. Patrick Rice holding an adult Cobia)



Cobia is one of the prime candidate aquaculture species to be cultured worldwide in tropical waters. Ideally water temperature minimum should be not below 20 ºC.  Cobia meets all the criteria to be a very successful aquacultured fish species to come to supermarkets in the US, Europe and other parts the world. Although it is an easy species to culture, it is also quite susceptible to disease. One big difference to Salmon and temperate species such as the European Seabass and Sea Bream is that culture water temperature is a lot higher. Therefore most culture operations are (and will be) in developing or underdeveloped countries. The latter appears to be an important and somewhat unexpected challenge still holding back it's production and promised appearance in world markets.


In the Americas, the Caribbean and allmost all of Brazil has environmental conditions that are well suited for the propagation of Cobia. Many locations in the Indo-Pacific are also well suited for Cobia, i.e. from the Red Sea to Southern Taiwan. The potential of cobia aquaculture in the eastern Atlantic, i.e. off the West coast of Africa is unknown, same holds true for for the East coast of Africa. Islands off the east of Africa, such as Reunion and Mauritius already have cobia farms off their coast. Our economic analysis and experience in the Americas, has convinced us that operations below a production level of about 200 ton per year did not have the size to take advantage of the economies of scale that seem essential to succed in industrial, open-ocean, growout aquaculture of cobia.




Oocytes at 400-600micron






 Day 19 post-lexion larva/transitional




Caligus sp. found on wild collected Cobia broodstock





Ammylodinium sp. on gills of cobia broodstock




 Transfer of day 2-3 first feeding larvae from incubator to main rearing tanks





 Transfer of day ~12 day larvae cobia to re-adjust larval densities in case of unequal stocking distributions during a productiion run at a 4-module (total 48m3) juvenile marine finfish production facility capable of producing over 80,000 1gm fingerlings per 30day run.




Experimental juvenile growout trials ranging in prodiuction from 5gm-100gm fingerlings using different commercial feeds wth different contents of fishmeal, proteiin, Lipid, and overall energy.





Broodstock cobia 5-15kg collected from the wild held 80m3, 7.6m diameter by 1.8m deep fiberglass tank with recirculating system complete with chiller/heater, 2hp water pump, mechanical filtration down to 10micron, UV-Filter, Biofilter and Protein Skimmer.

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Please e-mail your comments to Dr. Refik Orhun: [email protected]

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