Name of the infrastructure: Palavas Experimental Aquaculture Research Station (PEARS)
Location: Palavas les Flots, South FRANCE
Website address: www.ifremer.fr
Contact: Emmanuel Rezzouk


For research on fish performance, well equipped for experiments with new or established species in larval, juvenile or growout phase. The 3 units are:
1-MES: Marine Ecotolerance Section. It includes 2 sets of 16 tanks of 1m3 each, running with seawater in flow-through or recirculated water. Tanks are fitted with efficient feeders and particulate traps allowing a high level of the control of feed intake and uneaten feed, especially when fish are fed at satiation.
2-FLA: From Larvae to Adult Fish. This part allows to grow fish from egg to commercial size by offering a comprehensive and homogeneous sub-infrastructure for any type of long-term experiment in genetics and genomics. This installation includes one isolated room with 8 tanks of 0.5m3 each, one isolated room of 9 tanks of 0.5m3 each, one room with 16 tanks of 1.5 m3 each and another separate room with 6 tanks of 5 m3 each. Seawater is recirculated. For both MES and FLA installations, light intensity is possibly regulated from 0 to 500 lux with artificial dawn and dusk. Seawater is filtered at 30μ to 60μ, UV sterilized, degassed in a packed column, regulated at constant temperature ranging from 13 to 25°C and can be enriched with oxygen.
3-IMTA: Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (4 sets of 3 tanks of 1.5 m3 each, connected to outdoor experimental lagoon). This part of the infrastructure is going to be constructed and should be operational from late 2015.The zone will allow the evaluation of purification capacity for different species of fish effluents ("inorganic and organic extractors").

Services currently offered by the infrastructure

Seawater fish at different stages of development (larvae, fingerlings, juvenile, grow-out). The specific IMTA systems offers the possibility to evaluate the nutrient recycling in multi-trophic system. Characterisation and quantification of nutrient fluxes can be realised in experiments combining different biological compartments (fish + algae + filter or deposit feeders) in various scales tanks in Recirculated Aquaculture Systems (RAS) or flow-through system. IFREMER staff will advise the TNA users in the experimental set-up including system preparation, fish supplying and acclimatisation. During the experiments, it will continue to support the TNA user, including daily care, sampling and (temporal) storage of samples. In addition, when appropriate, legal permits to work with experimental animals will have to be obtained by a certified IFREMER scientist prior to the experiment. During the FP7-AQUAEXCEL project, two foreign TNA guests used this infrastructure for their research to fully utilise the number of proposed accesses. In addition, close collaborations within the frame of other international projects frequently allow guests to work in the facilities of IFREMER.

Modality of access

On average each user or user group is expected to stay 56 days at the infrastructure. The performance units are suitable for long-term experiments (depending on species and proposition of the TNA user), based on fish performance under different culture conditions, as described above. The TNA user will have the daily responsibility of the experiment, coordination of the sampling and data analyses.
The TNA guest will obtain all data from the experiment; daily measurements of water quality, system performance and fish performance. In addition, the (final) sampling will enable the user to perform analyses on the obtained tissues, plasma, etc. The results can be published in a joined paper between the TNA user and involved IFREMER staff. When appropriate, the obtained knowledge can be implemented in the facilities of the TNA user.
The TNA user will be supported by the technical and supporting staff, and a responsible scientist will be appointed as first contact person. The support will ensure that the regulations of IFREMER and national animal protection laws are followed, and that the experimental design, the work protocol, execution of the experiment and data acquisition will meet IFREMER criteria. In addition, the administrative staff will assist in finding accommodation and transportation.
TNA users will get access to the relevant scientific literature, databases and IFREMER labs. The location in Palavas les-Flots has highly qualified staff in all fields that are relevant for the execution of the TNAs.

Unit of Access

The unit of access is m3.week. One typical access consists of 312 units of access. A typical TNA experiment uses 16 experimental tanks (1.5m3) for a total period of 13 weeks (4 preparation, 8 experiment (as 56 days), 1 cleaning), resulting in 312 unit of access by project. The actual number of system weeks of a particular TNA thus depends on the experimental design.
A unit of access typically includes assistance with tasks that cannot be performed by the TNA user, or by the TNA user alone. This includes:

  • Preparation of the work; set-up of the systems, acclimatization of filters and the fish, protocols, legal permission to work with live animals,
  • Daily work on the experiment itself according to the protocol; check on the systems and fish, work on the experiment, the use of collection of data, backstopping during weekends, alarm service,
  • Sampling for the experiment: samples of water and fish, according to the protocol,
  • Analyses of data when this is part of the TNA.