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FISCI: A new bio-index for the assessment of stress condition in acultured marine fish.


The overall objective of the project is to develop a non-invasive method for detecting general and specific stressor-related stress effects in fish reared in aquaculture.

Within the general research framework the project aims at two interrelated objectives:

To detect, analyse and quantify stress effects, under both laboratory and fish farm conditions, in two Mediterranean marine fish species, gilthead seabream (Sparus auratus) and European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), which are of major economic importance for European aquaculture, using as parameters changes in the skin and gill epithelia, and the mucus layer covering the skin: (a) changes in tissue morphology (b) enzymatic activity in skin and skin mucus (c) concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in blood serum and skin mucus and (d) non-enzymatic biochemical parameters in skin mucus samples. The stressors to be applied (low dissolved oxygen levels, high ammonia levels, and handling stress) are relevant to aquaculture.

To select subsequently the analytical methods and stress parameters that will prove to be reliable and easy to perform, using a sampling procedure from which the sampled fish can easily recover. The selected methods will be combined as bio-indicators through the establishment of a new stress-index, the "Fish Stress Condition Index " (FISCI), that will enable the characterisation of stress condition in cultured fish and will reflect both fish health and water quality This will provide fish farmers with a protocol method to check the stress condition of their fish.


National Centre for Marine Reseach
Aghios Kosmas, Hellinikon
16604 Athens

Participants (2)

Toernooiveld 1
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Givat Ram
91904 Jerusalem