Aerobic swimming in intensive finfish aquaculture: applications for production, mitigation and selection



McKenzie DJ, Palstra AP, Planas J, MacKenzie S, Bégout M, Thorarensen H, Vandeputte M, Mes D, Rey S, De Boeck G, Domenici P & Skov PV (2021) Aerobic swimming in intensive finfish aquaculture: applications for production, mitigation and selection. Reviews in Aquaculture, 13 (1), pp. 138-155.

We review knowledge on applications of sustained aerobic swimming as a tool to promote productivity and welfare of farmed fish species. There has been extensive interest in whether providing active species with a current to swim against can promote growth. The results are not conclusive but the studies have varied in species, life stage, swimming speed applied, feeding regime, stocking density and other factors. Therefore, much remains to be understood about mechanisms underlying findings of ‘swimming‐enhanced growth’, in particular to demonstrate that swimming can improve feed conversion ratio and dietary protein retention under true aquaculture conditions. There has also been research into whether swimming can alleviate chronic stress, once again on a range of species and life stages. The evidence is mixed but swimming does improve recovery from acute stresses such as handling or confinement. Research into issues such as whether swimming can improve immune function and promote cognitive function is still at an early stage and should be encouraged. There is promising evidence that swimming can inhibit precocious sexual maturation in some species, so studies should be broadened to other species where precocious maturation is a problem. Swimming performance is a heritable trait and may prove a useful selection tool, especially if it is related to overall robustness. More research is required to better understand the advantages that swimming may provide to the fish farmer, in terms of production, mitigation and selection.

aerobic exercise; growth; maturation; selection; stress; welfare

Reviews in Aquaculture: Volume 13, Issue 1

FundersEuropean Cooperation in Science and Technology
Publication date31/01/2021
Publication date online29/06/2020
Date accepted by journal07/06/2020

People (2)


Professor Simon MacKenzie

Professor Simon MacKenzie

Professor & Head of Inst of Aquaculture, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Associate Professor, Institute of Aquaculture