Environmental Sustainability at High Altitude in Mexico: A Case Study of Rainbow Trout Culture and Water Quality at High Altitude

By Ione Hunt von Herbing, Oswaldo Hernández-Gallegos, José Fernando Méndez-Sánchez, Mónica Vanessa Garduño Paz, María de Lourdes Ruiz-Gómez, Georgina Rodríguez-Vargas and Tien-Chien Francis Pan.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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A long-term international collaborative effort joined scientists and students from the University of North Texas (UNT) and the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM), Toluca, to investigate the health of farmed rainbow trout (Onchorynchus mykiss) at high altitude (9642 ft) in central Mexico. This study was conducted in the Corral de Piedra watershed in Mexico State, which is the major source of clean water to nearby towns, to Mexico City, and to the expanding rainbow trout aquaculture industry. In aquaculture, stress is of central concern because stressors, which accompany intensive fish husbandry, result in compromised fish health, decrease growth and productivity, and promote disease. Stress can be quantified by measuring concentrations of four common physiological indices (glucose, lactate, cortisol and antioxidants), levels of which rise in the blood in response to stressors. Blood samples were collected in the field from farmed fish at each of five farms in the watershed: Dos Potrillos (D), Corral de Piedra (C), El Arroya (E), Piedra Ancha (P) and Tizapa (T). Three farms; C, E and P had high fish stress levels, while farm D and T had significantly lower levels. In conjunction with the fish stress analysis, nine parameters of water quality, as well as details of each farm were recorded. While it was expected that water quality would be the principal factor influencing fish stress, the results showed little significant differences in water quality among the farms compared to the Los Hoyos River. It was concluded that the one-time sampling instance of this study might not have been sufficient to resolve differences in water quality among the farms. In fact farm quality, that is; location in the watershed, farming management and pond construction, may have a significant effect on fish stress in the short-term, and will consequently influence the future of environmental sustainability of aquaculture at high-altitude in Mexico.

Keywords: Water Usage, Stress Indicators, Ecological Physiology, Trout Aquaculture, Mexico, Conservation

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.19-34. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 580.425KB).

Ione Hunt von Herbing

Associate Professor & Director of Marine Conservation and Aquatic Physiology Laboratory, Biological Sciences Department, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA

I have an academic background and have been a professor/research scientist for almost twenty years in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean. My degrees are in Plant Physiology/Limnology (BSc), Oceanography (MSc) and Animal Physiology and Energetics (Ph.D.). My primary interests are biological thermodynamics and bioenergetics, which until recently has been limited to fishes, but now is expanding to other living systems. In association with my interests in global sustainability, I run one of only a few Marine Physiology Conservation laboratories in the world, and am dedicated to using physiological techniques to preserving marine diversity in the global oceans.

Oswaldo Hernández-Gallegos

Professor, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico (UAEM), Toluca, Mexico

José Fernando Méndez-Sánchez

Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Mexico

Mónica Vanessa Garduño Paz

Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Mexico

María de Lourdes Ruiz-Gómez

Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Mexico (UAEM), Toluca, Mexico

Georgina Rodríguez-Vargas

Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, Mexico

Tien-Chien Francis Pan

Marine Conservation and Aquatic Physiology Laboratory, University of North Texas, USA