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 0 1 0
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

Acipenser naccarii is a critically endangered [1] species of the sturgeon family. It was probably driven to extinction in the wild due to overfishing and was preserved solely due to the efforts of regional governments and fish farms (one in Italy and the other in Spain) that started a reproduction programme [2] [3]. Nowadays its production efforts are divided between repopulation and caviar. A minor percentage is hybridised with Acipenser baerii for meat production [4]. It is however surprising that almost no information on the biology of this species is available and therefore neither a clear assessment of its current welfare state nor potential for improvement is possible. Further research should be dedicated to all the criteria evaluated on the list below as well as the success of the repopulation effort.


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

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: trays or troughs: 2-4 m2 [5] [6].

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: ponds or raceways [4]: 25-70 x 5-15 m [6]. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 1-4 ha [5]; cages: 20-100 m2 (15-20 m2 for overwintering) [5]. Futher research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

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

SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yetFARM: for sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 120-130 m [5] or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 30-60 x 12 m [5]; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 30-50 m2 [5] or cages: 20-100 m2 [5]; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >40 m3 [5] or "Kurinsky" type concrete ponds: 105 x 17 m or 1,000-4,000 ha separated into different compartments [5]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.


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
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: ca 0.5 m [5] [6]. For sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 20 cm [5]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: deep river pools 10-40 m [7]. FARM: ponds or raceways [4]: <2 m [6]. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 2.3-2.5 m [5]; cages: 2.5-3.5 m [5]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

ADULTS: JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: eggs laid in still waters in the margins of rivers or lakes [8], depth not reported. FARM: ponds or raceways [4]: <2 m [6]. For sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 0.5-2.5 m [5] or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 1.5-2.5 m [5]; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 2 m [5] or cages: 3-3.5 m [5]; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >1.5 m [5]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.


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?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
M
Certainty

ANADROMOUS [9].

LARVAE: WILD: fresh water [9]. FARM: fresh water [10]. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: estuaries [9] [7]. FARM: usually reared in freshwater ponds or raceways [4]. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTS: WILD: estuaries [9] [7], occasionally coastal saltwater areas [11] [7]. FARM JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: rivers [9] [7]. FARM LARVAE.


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
L
Certainty

WILD: Acipenser species use gravel, pebbles, and stones in shallow, upper stretches of rivers as spawning grounds [9], where they lay adhesive eggs [12]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: maturation is achieved through hormonal induction [10] [13] [7]. Modern techniques are less invasive and include ultrasound for sexing and assessing maturity and manual stripping, all under anaesthesia [14].


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?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: other Acipenser species are known to aggregate [15]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: ponds: 1-5 kg/m2 [4]; tanks: 30-40 kg/m2 for sturgeons in general [4]; high-standard farms: <10 kg/m3 [6].

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD:  JUVENILES. 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?

?
Likelihood
M
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: not aggressive in improved farming conditions [14]. LABA. fulvescens is reported to be non-aggressive [16]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. 

ADULTS: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD 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?

?
Likelihood
M
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD and LAB: other Acipenser species use pebbles and stones for concealment [17]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: for details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: muddy or sandy bottoms [7] [18]. FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter [6].

ADULTS: JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: other Acipenser species spawn in rocky substrate [19]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter [6].


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?

?
Likelihood
M
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: not stressed by routine handling and crowding but sensitive to temperature of 25 ºC [20].

ADULTS: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: no data found yet.


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

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE: anecdotal reports of heart malformation in 9-10 days old alevins [21].

JUVENILES: no data found yet.

ADULTS: 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
H
Potential
L
Certainty

Common slaughter method: no data found yet. In high-standard farms: percussive stunning through manual spiking or percussive gun performed by experienced staff, followed by bleeding [14].


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 [22], level 5 being fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: carnivorous [7]. FARM: no replacement of fish meal and fish oil reported in literature. 


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
ANADROMOUS = migrating from the sea into fresh water to spawn
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 = entire life cycle closed in captivity without wild inputs [22]
FARM = setting in farm environment
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
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild


Bibliography

[1] Bronzi, P, L Congiu, R Rossi, S Zerunian, and G Arlati. 2009. Acipenser naccarii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. International Union for Conservation of Nature. https://doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T224A13037056.en.
[2] FIPSAS. 2017. Progetto Storione Cobice.
[3] Riofrio. 2012. Caviar y sostenibilidad. Caviar de Riofrío.
[4] Williot, Patrick, Laurent Sabeau, Joern Gessner, Giovanni Arlati, Paolo Bronzi, Tamas Gulyas, and Paolo Berni. 2001. Sturgeon farming in Western Europe: recent developments and perspectives. Aquat. Living Resour.: 9.
[5] Chebanov, Mikhail S., and Elena V. Galich. 2011. Sturgeon hatchery manual. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper 558: 303.
[6] Saraiva, João L. 2018. Personal communication.
[7] Bronzi, Paolo, Paul Vecsei, and Giovanni Arlati. 2005. Threatened fishes of the world: Acipenser naccarii Bonaparte, 1836 (Acipenseridae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 72: 66–66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10641-004-1036-4.
[8] NOAA. 2015. Adriatic Sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii) :: NOAA Fisheries.
[9] Rochard, Eric, G. Castelnaud, and Mario Lepage. 1990. Sturgeons (Pisces: Acipenseridae); threats and prospects. Journal of Fish Biology 37: 123–132. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.1990.tb05028.x.
[10] Arlati, G., A. Grassi, and A. Granata. 1999. Restocking Acipenser Naccarii in the Lombardy Region. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 15: 298–298. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0426.1999.tb00288.x.
[11] Rossi, R, G Grandi, R Trisolini, P Franzoi, A Carrieri, BS Dezfuli, and E Vecchietti. 1991. Osservazioni sulla biologia e la pesca dello storione cobice Acipenser naccarii Bonaparte nella parte terminale del fiume Po. Atti della Società italiana di scienze naturali e del museo civico di storia naturale di Milano 132: 121–142.
[12] Doroshov, Sergei I. 1985. Biology and Culture of Sturgeon Acipenseriformes. In Recent Advances in Aquaculture, ed. James F. Muir and Ronald J. Roberts, 251–274. Boston, MA: Springer US.
[13] Boglione, C., P. Bronzi, E. Cataldi, S. Serra, F. Gagliardi, and S. Cataudella. 1999. Aspects of early development in the Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 15: 207–213. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0426.1999.tb00236.x.
[14] Anonymous farmers. 2018. Personal communication.
[15] Hatin, D., R. Fortin, and F. Caron. 2002. Movements and aggregation areas of adult Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus) in the St Lawrence River estuary, Quebec, Canada. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 18: 586–594. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0426.2002.00395.x.
[16] Allen, P. J., C. C. Barth, S. J. Peake, M. V. Abrahams, and W. G. Anderson. 2009. Cohesive social behaviour shortens the stress response: the effects of conspecifics on the stress response in lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 90–104. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.02112.x.
[17] Khodorevskaya, R. P., G. I. Ruban, and D. S. Pavlov. 2009. Behaviour, migrations, distribution and stocks of sturgeons in the Volga-Caspian basin. World Sturgeon Conservation Society: Special Publication 3. Norder- stedt, Germany: Books on Demand GmbH.
[18] FAO. 2017. FAO Fisheries Aquaculture - Species Fact Sheets - Acipenser naccarii (Bonaparte, 1836). World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fao.org.
[19] Kynard, B., R. Suciu, and M. Horgan. 2002. Migration and habitats of diadromous Danube River sturgeons in Romania: 1998–2000. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 18: 529–535. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1439-0426.2002.00404.x.
[20] Cataldi, E, P Di Marco, A Mandich, and S Cataudella. 1998. Serum parameters of Adriatic sturgeon Acipenser naccarii (Pisces: Acipenseriformes): effects of temperature and stress. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular Integrative Physiology 121: 351–354. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1095-6433(98)10134-4.
[21] Guerrero, A, Ac Durán, Jm Icardo, B Fernández, A Domezain, and V Sans-Coma. 2007. Dorsoventral transposition of the heart chambers in sturgeon Acipenser naccarii alevins. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 78: 173–177. https://doi.org/10.3354/dao01856.
[22] Teletchea, Fabrice, and Pascal Fontaine. 2012. Levels of domestication in fish: implications for the sustainable future of aquaculture. Fish and Fisheries 15: 181–195. https://doi.org/10.1111/faf.12006.