The basis for commercial production of marine fish and other marine organisms is the quality of the fry, which in turn is a result of the feeding strategy in the early phase of their life cycle. The nutritional composition of the live feed in the larval/fry phase of fish and other marine organisms is crucial for further growth, development and survival. This was the reason why SINTEF developed a new feeding concept for marine fish larvae, based on live copepods, which are the natural food source for a number of marine organisms, including larval stages of both fish and shellfish. Feeding trails with different fish species have shown significantly better survival, growth and less deformities when copepods are used as live feed in the larval/fry phase. It has also been possible to introduce new fish species for commercial production after copepods have become available as a new source of live feed organisms, an example of this Atlantic bluefin tuna. To produce high-quality fry, it is crucial to develop a clear strategy how to feed marine larvae. It is well known that most marine species must be fed live food organisms before they are weaned into formulated diets. In the last decades, most marine hatcheries have used rotifers and Artemia as starter feeds, but both organisms lack important nutrients, and the quality of the fry has been variable.
SINTEF Ocean has together with NTNU established the Norwegian Centre for Plankton Technology with infrastructure used for research on new and already established farmed species. This activity includes the earliest life stages of different fish species and other marine organisms, from hatching, through the live food period until weaning.