Aquaculture in Israel: Current status and innovative approaches

W. M. Koven*, S. Harpaz, J. Van Rijn, N. Mozes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In 2007 Israelis consumed about 72, 000 MT of fish, which is about equal to 10 kg per capita. About 65% of demand was from frozen imports while approximately 35% of consumption came from locally produced freshwater and marine fish or 24, 866 MT. Fresh water aquaculture represented 19, 168 MT while mariculture's share was only 2, 251 MT. New advances in m1ariculture research included the dietary manipulation of the stress response in fish larvae, determining the environmental and nutritional factors affecting juvenile deformities in gilthead sea bream as well as the quantification of the daily energy and protein requirement for the gilthead sea bream, European sea bass and white grouper during grow-out. The use of the mesocosm approach was implemented for the larviculture of grouper and studies were conducted to increase the female/male sex ratio in the European sea bass through temperature manipulation during larval rearing. In freshwater aquaculture a vaccine against a virus (CyHV-3) that devastated carp and Koi culture was developed and hybrid tilapia was organically grown in polyculture as well as in the desert using underground saline and geothermal water. By 2000 Israel was 10th in the world in revenue from ornamental fish. In 2007, the exports of cold water ornamental fish, mainly the ornamental carp (Koi), were around $12, 000, 000 annually. Tropical warm water ornamental fish production exceeds $250, 000 annually while marine ornamental fish production revolves mainly around 5 species of clown fish (Amphiprion spp.), the major one being A. ocellaris with a monthly production of 7, 000-10, 000 fish. An effective approach to the water treatment of in-land fish farm effluent through biofiltration has become the cornerstone of the integrative pond approach in Israel. Organisms involved in biofiltration can be bacteria which convert waste carbon and nitrogen into gasses while microalgae, macroalgae and suspension feeders assimilate nutrients from the effluent into their biomass. In Israel, water and land scarcity as well as potential environmental damage associated from marine fish cage culture have been the driving forces behind the development of recirculating systems. A low-head recirculating concept was developed to produce the Mega-Flow system. This approach is based on providing water circulation and water aeration by means of airlifts. Alternatively, other research has mainly dealt with the development of a zero-discharge recirculating system based on the combined aerobic/anoxic treatment of the culture water.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationAquaculture in the Middle East and North Africa
Subtitle of host publicationStatus and Research Needs
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9781612098340
StatePublished - 2011


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