Short profile


FishEthoScore of the species

Abbreviated assessment of the species' likelihood and potential for fish welfare in aquaculture, based on ethological findings for 10 crucial criteria.

Criteria Li Po Ce
1 Home range
2 Depth range
3 Migration
4 Reproduction
5 Aggregation
6 Aggression
7 Substrate
8 Stress
9 Malformation
10 Slaughter / / /
FishEthoScore 1 2 2
Li = Likelihood that the individuals of the species experience welfare under minimal farming conditions
Po = Potential overall potential of the individuals of the species to experience welfare under improved farming conditions
Ce = Certainty of our findings in Likelihood and Potential
 
                    ?     /  
  High    Medium     Low     Unclear  No findings
 
FishEthoScore = Sum of criteria scoring "High" (max. 10)



General remarks

Morone saxatilis is a very popular species in North America, especially regarding recreational fisheries. Due to the decline of wild stocks, some effort was invested in farming this fish both for re-stocking and commercial purposes. However, there is a lack of knowledge in many aspects of its biology, especially regarding common aquaculture stressors such as handling, aggression, incidence of malformations, and humane slaughter protocols. Most of the information available is old and yet suggest that the welfare state of this species is poor, especially concerning spatial needs and induced spawning practices. Furthermore, this species is currently being hybridised with other Moronids, which raises welfare issues because of the lack of knowledge on the effects of such practices. The welfare of M. saxatilis may be improved if production is focused on freshwater populations, uses appropriate densities, develops solutions towards the use of substrate, and implements humane slaughter procedures.


1. Are minimal farming conditions likely to provide the home range of the species? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAEWILD: PLANKTONIC, so no home range [1]. FARM: incubation in MacDonald type jars, heath trays [2] or in spawning tanks [3], then transferred to FINGERLINGS ponds of 0.2-0.4 ha [4].

JUVENILESWILD: 0.1-0.4 km2 [5] [6], <20 km2 [7]. FARM: ponds: 0.4-2.0 ha [4]; raceways: 30 x 3 m or proportionally larger  [4]; circular tanks: 10 m diameter [4].

ADULTS➝ JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: males 30-40 km, females 1-10 km [8]. FARM: circular tanks: 3.7 m diameter [9].


2. Are minimal farming conditions likely to provide the depth range of the species? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAEWILD: 0-7 m [10]. FARM: incubation in MacDonald type jars, heath trays [2], or in spawning tanks [3], then transferred to FINGERLINGS ponds of 1-2 m depth [4].

JUVENILESWILD: 20-40 m [11]. FARM: ponds: <2.8 m [4].

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: 1.0-3.5 m [12]. FARM: circular tanks: 1.2 m [9].


3. Are minimal farming conditions compatible with the migrating or habitat-changing behaviour of the species? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

H
Likelihood
H
Potential
H
Certainty

Some populations ANADROMOUS, others landlocked [10].

LARVAEWILD: perform vertical migrations [10] and downstream movements [13], but some populations remain in fresh water [14]. FARM: reared in brackish water [15] [16]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: some populations in fresh water, others in brackish water and others in saltwater [10] [17] [18] . FARM: may be reared in fresh, brackish or saltwater [19] [20] [15] [16]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: spawn in fresh water [8] [5] [6]FARM: fresh or brackish water [15] [16]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.


4. Is the species likely to reproduce in captivity without manipulation? Is there potential to allow for it under farming conditions? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
H
Certainty

WILD: pre-spawning behaviour of both sexes involves staging within the lower and middle parts of estuaries. Males and females move in synchrony from the staging area to the spawning grounds, which they occupy during 1-2 weeks for females and longer for males. Increase in temperature triggers spawning movements [21]. Spawning occurs near the head of tide and at the surface of the water. The spawning act is obvious and can vary from a gentle swirling motion of several fish to an aggressive behaviour that splashes water high into the air. The eggs and milt are broadcast simultaneously by the females and males respectively, and fertilisation occurs in the water column [22].

FARM: in many cases, males and females are kept separately, stripped upon hormonal injections and fertilisation is performed manually [23] [24] [25] [26]. When kept in spawning tanks, ratio is 1 female : 2 males [23]. Spawning can also occur spontaneously in tanks, although relying on GnRH injected males and females [23].

LAB: courtship behaviour (leading, following, aggregating in pack) started 15 h before spawning. Male courted female with side-to-side or face-to-face contact and shimmying. Encircled and pushed against female when she released eggs [27].


5. Is the aggregation imposed by minimal farming conditions likely to be compatible with the natural behaviour of the species? Is there potential to allow for it under farming conditions? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAEWILD: <600 IND/m3 [28]. FARM: ponds: 125,000-1,500,000 IND/ha in early stages [29] [30], 10,000-250,000 IND/ha in late stages, but densities in the range of 25,000-60,000 IND/ha resulted in more uniform fish and better overall survival [31].

JUVENILESWILD: form large schools [32], numbers and densities not available. FARM: ponds: 5,600 and 6,600 kg/ha, corresponding to approximately 8,600 IND/ha at harvest [33]; intensive ponds: 7,500 kg/ha [31]; raceways: 43.2 kg/m3 [31].

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: form spawning aggregations [10]. FARM: no data found yet.


6. Is the species likely to be non-aggressive and non-territorial? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAEWILD: no data found yetFARM: cannibalism in intensive systems [34].

JUVENILES: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTSWILD and FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERSWILD and FARM: no data found yet.


7. Are minimal farming conditions likely to match the natural substrate and shelter needs of the species? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
H
Potential
M
Certainty

Eggs and LARVAEWILDPELAGIC [10] [21]. FARM: jars, heath trays [2], tanks [3], earthen ponds [4].

JUVENILESWILD: sandy or gravelly bottoms [10]. FARM: earthen ponds, raceways or tanks  [4].

ADULTS: WILD: when inshore, may be found in a variety of environments: sand, gravel, rock [10]. FARM:  JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: pelagic spawning ( crit. 4). FARM: tanks [9].


8. Are minimal farming conditions (handling, confinement etc.) likely not to stress the individuals of the species? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
L
Certainty

Eggs and LARVAE: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: stressed by handling [35], confinement [36], and temperature changes [37].

ADULTS:  JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: stressed by high temperatures [38] [39] [40] [41] [42]; less invasive techniques to assess sex and maturation are available [43].


9. Are malformations of this species likely to be rare under farming conditions? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: high mortalities [44] [45], sensitive to temperature [22]. FARM: high mortalities [46] with survival after 20 days varying between 0.03% and 11% [47]. Swimbladder inflation is a critical event [48] [49].

JUVENILES: WILD: pugheadness, blindness, harelippedness, scoliosis, crossbite, lordosis, and fin deformations [50]FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD:  JUVENILES. FARM: no data found yet.


10. Is a humane slaughter protocol likely to be applied under minimal farming conditions? Is there potential for improvement? How certain are these findings?

/
Likelihood
/
Potential
/
Certainty

Common slaughter method: no data found yet. High-standard slaughter method: no data found yet.


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 [51], fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: carnivorous [52] [53]FARM: fish meal may be completely* replaced by plant-based diets, although requiring feeding stimulants [54] [55] [54], but no data found yet on replacement of fish oil and replacement in FRY and ADULTS.

*partly = <51% – mostly = 51-99% – completely = 100%


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
ANADROMOUS = migrating from the sea into fresh water to spawn
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 = selective breeding programmes are used focusing on specific goals [51]
FARM = setting in farm environment
FINGERLINGS = fry with fully developed scales and working fins, the size of a finger; for details Findings 10.1 Ontogentic development
FRY = larvae from external feeding on, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
IND = individuals
JUVENILES = fully developed but immature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
LAB = setting in laboratory environment
LARVAE = hatching to mouth opening, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
PELAGIC = living independent of bottom and shore of a body of water
PLANKTONIC = horizontal movement limited to hydrodynamic displacement
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild


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