AFI-32306 Nutrition and Health in Aquaculture


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work8
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. JW Schrama
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JW Schrama
MAJ Nederlof
prof. dr. ir. GF Wiegertjes
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. GF Wiegertjes
dr. ir. JW Schrama

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

AFI-20306 Aquaculture and Fisheries; AFI-31306 Life History of Aquatic Organisms.


Aquaculture is increasingly important for human food supply. Two key challenges which should enable the global growth of the aquaculture sector are: 1) the production of sufficient, high quality and sustainable feeds and 2) maintaining healthy (shell)fish. In this course, general aspects and current issues in domains of nutrition and health of (shell)fish are addressed. Sustainability of aquaculture involves various biological factors/disciplines (husbandry, water quality/management, nutrition, health, etc.). This course has an integrative approach to these different factors from organ to organismal level and is focussing nutrition and health aspects and their interactions. The major attention in this course is on the juvenile and adult (brood stock) life stages of fish and shellfish (shrimp) (only minor attention is given to larval stages).

Students will be taught to understand how (shell)fish grow and stay healthy (including welfare aspects) building on assumed basic knowledge of nutrition, physiology, pathology, immunology, and genetics to integrate the various disciplines. Key subjects are: metabolic aspects of fish nutrition; nutrient requirements; impact of diet on gut health/physiology (e.g., limitations/consequences of fishmeal replacement); feed intake regulation mechanisms; prevention of fish diseases; healthy fish feeds as drivers of innate immunity and general disease resistance; stress physiology and behaviour in relation to fish welfare.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe, explain and generalise how major factors such as nutrition, water quality and other environmental factors influence animal performance (growth, feed intake, efficiency, disease, health and welfare);
- explain, illustrate how, and integrate the role and mechanisms by which nutrition (composition [e.g., energy, protein and carbohydrate content], physical properties, etc.) interacts with energy metabolism, protein metabolism, feed intake regulation and waste production;
- demonstrate the principle of formulating fish diets, have knowledge and skills in measuring physical pellet quality;
- judge and assess fish health aspects by having knowledge on pathology and functions of skin, gut and gill barriers and performing morphological and histological measurements on skin, gut and gills;
- describe, explain and generalise the role and mechanisms of innate immunity driving the working mechanisms of healthy feeds;
- explain, illustrate and describe the concept of vitality and welfare in aquatic organisms by integrating knowledge on fish nutrition, water quality and health,
- assess fish welfare aspects by performing behavioural observation and measuring blood stress parameters;
- summarise and present orally a scientific research article and to formulate a generalized concept of factors involved on specific topics being dealt with in case-studies on the basis of 3 to 4 articles.


- follow lectures;

- perform practical exercises;

- perform computer exercises.


- written test with approx. 40 multiple choice questions and approx. 4 open questions (90%);
- two interim reports on case assignments (10%).


Course guide.

Restricted Optional for: MASAnimal SciencesMScB: Nutrition and Metabolism5AF
MAMAquaculture and Marine Resource ManagementMScA: Aquaculture5AF