In this project, IEO puts forward four installations for TNA. The facilities include the two Marine Aquaculture facilities of Murcia (IEO-ICAR-MAP), Vigo (IEO-AquaCOV) and Santander (IEO-PAU). All three experimental aquaculture facilities are fully equipped. These facilities include several areas, such as breeding, hatchery, nursery, phyto and zooplankton cultures and pre- and on growing. There are also several available on-site biological laboratories: wet labs, genetic, histology, nutrition, chemistry, and biochemistry as well as rooms for feeding preparation. Murcia facilities are devoted to developing techniques for bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) reproduction in captivity and juvenile production of bluefin tuna, as well as breeding and juvenile production of other Mediterranean fish species. In Vigo, the IEOAquaCOV’s general research lines have been focused on the optimization of animal husbandry of marine species of commercial interest and the rearing of new species. EIO-PAU unit in Santander has a wide expertise in rearing polychaetes.

The involved IEO teams (Vigo, Murcia and Santander) hold expertise to carry out scientific research in:

1) Rearing protocols for new and consolidated species for aquaculture such as Atlantic bluefin tuna, wreckfish, European hake, greater amberjack, sparids, flatfish and cephalopods

2) Reproductive performance and physiology, nutritional requirements of cultured marine species

3) Health and welfare, immune system and vaccine development and

4) Genetic analysis for selective breeding of aquaculture stocks.


Infrastructure: : IEO-ICAR-MAP

Location: Puerto de Mazarrón (Murcia), SPAIN

Web site address:

Contact: Aurelio Ortega García (


The Research Infrastructure consist of marine aquaculture facilities located in the Region of Murcia devoted to culture Mediterranean species, mainly Atlantic bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus, (ABFT) but also another Mediterranean species like sea bass, sea bream, yellowtail and another Scombrids and Scienidae. The Research Infrastructure has facilities for reproduction, incubation, larval rearing and weaning and growing, distributed in two closed but different buildings. They include more than 200 culture units, between 150 l and 3.500 m3 each, with a total volume of 9.000 m3. It provides automatic systems for controlling biological and physic-chemical parameters, as well as monitoring and control systems for feeding, nutrition and fish behaviour by means of self-feeders and video cameras. Some of these tanks are in different RAS systems, temperature controlled and equipped with mechanical and bio-filtration units, as well as UV-disinfection and skimmer and ozone treatment.

1. Facility for controlling the reproduction of the bluefin tuna (building 1)

It consists of a building of 2,660 m2, corresponding 1,960 m2 to the area including the tanks, 300 m2 to the laboratory area and offices and 400 m2 for water recycling and treatment area. The facility count on four big tanks: 2 broodstock tanks (20-22m Ø and 9-10 m depth -2,600 and 3,500 m3-) containing 70 ABFT broodfish and 2 juveniles tanks (14 m Ø, 6 m depth -900 m3 – and and 8 m Ø, 3 m depth -150 m3-) The juvenile tanks are devoted to the quarantine, adaptation and ongrowing of new fish, and under demand could be filled with some cages to preongrowing trials.

The laboratory and offices area includes a storage room, a cold and freezer room, two laboratories and four small offices. The treatment and recycling water area has two full independent systems including physical and biological filtration, thermal treatment (heating or cooling), chemical filtration with ozone and skimmers, U.V. sterilization and oxygen injection. All the facility is fully equipped with automatic video cameras, activity control of all the devices (pumps, blower, valves, oxygen and ozone machines, UVA equipment, heating and chilling machines, skimmers, etc.) and sensors of temperature, pH, oxygen, redox potential, measurement of U.V. radiation, photoperiod, flowmeters, water level, etc., which are continuously registering and reporting activities in order to guarantee the correct operation of the systems and to monitor the tuna behavior.

2. Marine aquaculture Plant: Facilities for incubation, larval rearing, weaning and on-growing (building 2)

These facilities extend over a total surface of 8,000 m2 with a building of 3,500 m2. It includes more than 200 culture units, between 150 l and 100 m3 each, with a total volume of 1,300 m3. It provides automatic systems for controlling biological and physic-chemical parameters, as well as monitoring and control systems for feeding, nutrition and fish behavior by means of self-feeders and video cameras.

– Office area of 700 m2

– Laboratories: Wet laboratory, Laboratories for histology, nutrition, chemistry and biochemistry, lyophilized and sample treatments, Image and video laboratory, Room for feeding preparation and Genetics laboratory

– Water inlet system including different RAS.

– Oxygen and air delivery systems

– Cold and freeze rooms at 2ºC (18 m2) and at –20ºC (27 m2).

– Sea water heating and cooling systems

– Power generator of kVA of electrical power.

– Phytoplankton production unit (Tetraselmis, Nannochloropsis, Isochrysis and Rhodomonas)

– Small isotherm room (60 m2) for phytoplankton strains conservation and starting cultures

– Two greenhouses (150 m2) for massive phytoplankton production in photobioreactors and bags

– Isotherm room for rotifer production and enrichment (29m2) with 8 (1.5 m3) and 5 (500 liters) cylindrical tanks.

– Unit for Artemia hatching and enrichment. Isotherm room (24 m2) with 10 cylinder-conical (160 l) tanks for Artemia hatching and enrichment.

– Unit for copepods (Acartia tonsa) production with 4 (5 m3) broodstock tanks and 8 (1.5 m3) tanks for hatching and growing Nauplius.

– Incubation room (22 m2) provided with 12 (500-1000 l) cylinder-conical tanks and a small incubation unit provided with 24 (10 l) cylinder-conical tanks.

– Three water recycled units for larval rearing with 60 cylindrical tanks (150 to 1500 l.)

– Larval rearing area with 7 (5 m3), 18 (1,4m3) and 2 greater (45 m3) cylindrical tanks

– Two experimental isotherm rooms with a total of 40 (170 l) cylindrical tanks.

– Broodstock area with 7 (45 m3) square-based tanks and 2 (90 m3) and 4 (6m3) rectangular-based tank.

This area is mainly devoted to produce yolk sac larvae to supply the tuna larvae needs

– Weaning and pre-ongrowing area with 4 (50 m3), 4 (20 m3) and 18 (10 m3) cylindrical tanks and 40 square-based tanks (2-12 m3)

– Room to pathology challenges: A small room with 200 l. tanks fully isolated to carry out challenges with pathogens.

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

IEO-ICAR MAP is aimed to develop techniques for juvenile production of bluefin tuna, as well as breeding and juvenile production of other Mediterranean fish species. It is currently used as a research infrastructure by IEO scientific staff and other Spanish and international institutes and universities. It has also hosted many experiments from private companies.

Technical support for daily experimental work and technical help for samplings will be provided to all users. For specific needs, IEO scientists using the infrastructures will assist users for experimental design and data interpretation.

Main services are related to:

– Tuna farming

– Species diversification

– Nutrition and food

– Recirculation systems (RAS) development

– Animal health and welfare

– Technical larval culture

– Sampling

– Formation and training of technicians on bluefin tuna rearing.

Modality of access

IEO-ICAR MAP will carry out experiments for potential users and provide physical access to its facilities during crucial periods of the running experiments. As the standard procedures and the general maintenance will be carried out by trained and experienced staff, each user is expected to stay 10 days, typically 5 days at the beginning of the experiment to finalize the technical protocol details and start the experiment and 5 days at the end of the experiment for final measurements and sampling.

Access will comprise the use of tanks including maintenance, water supply, daily feeding and husbandry of fish; manipulation, and sampling of fish. Access to all dry laboratory facilities and other infrastructural, logistical, technical and scientific support to external users is offered, as well as access to internet, desk, fax and printing service, copy machine, etc. Users will be provided with any necessary technical assistance, training and advice on methodologies, experimental design and data analysis.

IEO-ICAR MAP provides standardized experimental protocols, documentation of results, and appropriate sampling and conservation of samples.

Unit of access

The unit of access is one week (5 days) per person. The typical access consists of 5-10 units. Unit of access is defined as one week during which a user is given access to IEO-MAP facilities to use a set of experimental tanks or biological labs (1 great tank in building 1 or a set of several incubation, larval rearing or preongrowing tanks in building 2). The unit of access will include the preparatory work of the experiment, live preys if needed and the technical support during the project.

There are 40 units of access allocated to IEO-ICAR MAP over the life of the project.


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