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 1
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

Hypophthalmichthys molitrix is one of the four Chinese major carps, together with H. nobilis, Ctenopharyngodon idella, and Mylopharyngodon piceus. This freshwater benthopelagic fish naturally occurs in river systems in China and Russia and has been introduced into many countries for aquaculture purposes, despite its apparent great invasion potential and low market price. Together with H. nobilis, it is one of the most intensively cultured fish species in Asia, which is commonly raised in a system of 'harvesting and stocking', that is, stocking at a high density, partial harvesting of the larger FISHES, and the addition of new fingerlings. This Chinese carp, which prefers low flow but not stagnant waters, is commonly raised in polycultures in ponds, pens, reservoirs or lakes. As a plankton feeder, H. molitrix is frequently stocked in ponds for water quality enhancement and as a biocontrol method for phytoplankton. Competition with other species of similar feeding habits in polycultures is expected. H. molitrix is known for leaping out of the water when disturbed, and it naturally breeds during late spring and summer when the water level increases, migrating upstream to spawn. This carp is not able to spawn naturally in ponds or tanks, and its age and size at sexual maturity is apparently very variable and greatly affected by temperature, which means that it can be sold before reaching maturity. H. molitrix is usually kept alive from harvesting to marketing, as it is commonly consumed fresh, so that trucks and boats with water are frequently used as transportation tools. More studies about better slaughtering processes, stress response, and malformations on this species are needed, as well as studies about aggression both in wild and farm conditions. Furthermore, as most of the wild information comes from non-native waters research, more studies are still necessary in native waters. 


1. Are minimal farming conditions likely to provide the home range of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAE and FRYWILD: no data found yetFARMFRY: earthen ponds: 600-4,000 m2 [1] [2]; rectangular ponds: 400 m[3]; rectangular concrete tanks: 20 m2 [3]; cages in ponds: 0.25 m2 (0.5 x 0.5 m) [2]For carps in general, earthen ponds: 100-1,000 m2 [4]; tanks: 1.4 m2 (1.2 x 1.2 m) [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.

JUVENILESWILDno data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 100-8,000 m[5] [3] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]pens: 360,000 m2 [11]floating cages: 1,000 L [5]; PVC cylinders in lakes: 1.5 m diameter [9]; cages suspended in pig waste treatment systems: 0.6 m3 (0.9 m diameter) [12]; enclosures opened to sediment in reservoirs: 100 m2 (10 x 10 m) [13].

ADULTSWILD: non-native waters: 0.3-10.6 km/day, with maximum daily movement rates of 64 km/day [14], prefer areas of low flow but are never located in areas of 0 m/s [15]FARM: earthen ponds: 8,000 m[6], 35,000 m(for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS[16].

SPAWNERSWILD: non-native waters: 0.3-10.6 km/day, with maximum daily movement rates of 64 km/day [14]FARM: breeding tanks: 1,000-8,000 L [17] [16]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 20-30 m or 2,000-25,000 m2 [4]; storage tanks: 200 m2 (10 x 20 m), 450 m2 (15 x 30 m) [4]; breeding tanks: 3.8 m2 (2.5 x 1.5 m), 8 m2 (4 x 2 m), 18.8 m2 (7.5 x 2.5 m), 2 m diameter [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.


2. Are minimal farming conditions likely to provide the depth range of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

Eggs: WILD: no data found yetFARM: circular hatching tanks: 0.9 m [18].

LARVAE and FRYWILD: non-native waters: affinity for shallow habitats at the edge of floods [19]FARM: FRY: earthen ponds: 0.9-1.4 m [2]; rectangular ponds: 1.0 m [3]; rectangular concrete tanks: 0.6 m [3]; cages in ponds: 1 m [2]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.5-1.2 m [4]; tanks: 1.2 m [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.

JUVENILESWILD: caught in artificial dam (mean 34 m, max 108 m) [20] with unclear depth range use. Non-native waters: mean 1.8-4.1 m [21], sampled at 0.6-20.0 m with an increased density with decreasing depth [22]FARM: earthen ponds: 1-2 m [3] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]; pens: 2 m [11]; PVC cylinders in lakes: 1.2 m [9]; enclosures opened to sediment in reservoirs: 4 m [13].

ADULTSWILD: caught in artificial dam (mean 34 m, max 108 m) [20] and reservoirs (13.5-18 m) [23] with unclear depth range use. Non-native waters: mean 1.8-4.1 m, max 9.1 m [14] [21], captured at 2.4 m [24] and sampled at 0.6-20.0 m with an increased density with decreasing depth [22]FARM: earthen ponds: 2 m [6], 1.5 m (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS[16]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.8-2 m [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.

SPAWNERSWILD: non-native waters: mean 1.8-4.1 m, max 9.1 m [14] [21], captured at 2.4 m [24]FARM: for carps in general, earthen ponds: 1.0-2.5 m or deeper depending on climate zone [4]; storage tanks: 1.0-1.5 m [4]; breeding tanks: 1 m [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.


3. Are minimal farming conditions compatible with the migrating or habitat-changing behaviour of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

POTAMODROMOUS [18] [14] [25].

LARVAE and FRYWILD: 10-14 h photoperiod, maximum ~30 °C [26], non-native waters: range 23.8-26.7 °C (summer) [24]FARMFRY: rectangular ponds or concrete tanks: minimum of 24.5 °C [3]; earthen ponds: range 18-23 °C [2]; cages in ponds: range 17-29 °C [2]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26] [27] [20], minimum ~5 °C (February) and maximum ~31 °C (July-September) [26] [20]. Non-native waters: 9-16 h photoperiod [28], range 2-32.3 °C [29] [30] [28] [24] [21] with the lowest degrees in winter and the hottest temperatures during the summer [29] [24]. Non-native waters: some IND resident, others highly mobile [25] [21], annual range 32.4-38.2 km (minimum <0.1 and maximum 347.1 km), most IND have total range sizes <26 km or >102 km [21], site fidelity in lotic waters most of the time, with increased movements in summer probably due to foraging or searching suitable habitats with declining water, average 7-11 km [25]. FARM: earthen ponds: range 2.8-34 °C [6] [7] [8] [9]; pens: range 12.7-33.6 °C [11]; PVC cylinders in lakes: mean 25 °C [9]; enclosures opened to sediment in reservoirs: 11-13 h photoperiod, 26-31 °C [13]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD JUVENILESFARM: earthen ponds: mean 21-21.8 °C (spring-summer) [6]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

SPAWNERSWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26]; maximum ~30 °C [26]. Non-native waters: range 8.3-29.6 °C [29] [14] [24] [21]. Migrate upstream to spawn [18] [31] in spring [25] [21]: 19-411 km [14] [25] and downstream for overwintering: 29-34 km [25], which is triggered by flood pulses [18] [31] [25] and differences of temperature [25]. Some movements in the summer probably from staging areas to protracted spawning events [25]FARM: storage earthen ponds: mean 18-36 °C [17] [1]; concrete breeding tanks: 23 °C [16]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.


4. Is the species likely to reproduce in captivity without manipulation? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
L
Potential
H
Certainty

WILD: non-native waters: mature at 2 years old (earlier than in native waters) [32], spawn March-October (spring-autumn), probably can spawn multiple times per year [29]FARM: mature at 2 years old [33]; sex ratio 1:1 [1] or 1 female:2-3 males [33] [4] [18]. Unable to naturally spawn under artificial conditions like ponds, and induced spawning with hormones is used [18]. Attempts to induce spawning by acetone-dried whole carp pituitary for males and together with Human Chorionic Gonadotropin for females followed by stripping in post-spawning season [1] or with mammalian follicle stimulating and luteinising hormones together or not with pituitary gland extract of Cyprinius carpio during the spawning season (no spawn with pituitary gland extract only) [17]. Partial success of induced spawning with pituitary extract of Tachysurus thalassinus or T. jella followed by stripping [33]. Successful induced spawning by hypophysation [3] or with carp pituitary gland extract followed by stripping and the addition of urea solution to the eggs and milt mixture during natural breeding season [34]. Successful induced spawning by Luteinising Release Hormone-Analogue with Pimozide for females and carp pituitary gland for males followed by stripping, despite a higher latency to spawn, a lower number of eggs of good quality, and a higher percentage of deformed larvae than using carp pituitary gland for both sexes [16]. For carps in general, in storage tanks, spawners are kept separated by sex [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.


5. Is the aggregation imposed by minimal farming conditions likely to be compatible with the natural behaviour of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAE and FRYWILD: non-native waters: LARVAE: 10-500 IND/L, depending on the temperature, turbidity, and velocity of the water [24]FARM: FRY: rectangular ponds or concrete tanks: 37 IND/m2 (better growth, but worse survival in tanks) [3]; earthen ponds: 12.5-225 IND/m2 [18] [1] [2]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 1,000 IND/m2 for LARVAE in nursery ponds, 12.5-25 IND/m2 for FRY in breeding ponds [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.

JUVENILESWILD: large schools during spawning season [31]. Non-native waters: 0.0000005-0.000006 IND/L depending on time of day (higher at night), distance to shore (higher at shoreline), sampling location and season [22]FARM: earthen ponds: 0.05-10 IND/m2 [3], polyculture with Hypophthalmichthys nobilis of overall density of 2 IND/m2 [9], 0.06-0.4 IND/m2 in polycultures with 1-6 other carps of overall density of 0.1-0.7 IND/m2 [5] [4] [6] [10], 0.1 IND/m2 in polyculture with H. nobilis and Ictalurus punctatus of overall density of 2.8 IND/m2 [5], 0.03-0.05 IND/m2 in polyculture with 3 other carps and Puntius sophore and Amblypharyngodon mola of overall density of 3.5 IND/m2 [8], 1 IND/m2 in polyculture with Oreochromis niloticus and C. carpio of overall density of 2.2 IND/m2 [7]. Pens: 0.0003-0.04 g/L in polyculture with H. nobilis of overall density of 0.0005-0.06 g/L. Floating cages: 0.03 IND/L in polyculture with H. nobilis of overall density of 0.05 IND/L [5]. PVC cylinders in lakes: 2.1 IND/m2 [9]. Cages suspended in pig waste treatment systems: 0.02 IND/L [12]. Mechanically aerated aluminium vessels (transportation): 400 g/L [35]. Enclosures opened to sediment in reservoirs: 0,0002 or 0.05 g/L [13]LAB: grouped strongly, forming shoals of about 3 IND and about 6 IND with H. nobilis or, less consistently, about 2 IND with C. carpio [36].

ADULTSWILD: ➝ JUVENILESFARM: 0.1 IND/m2 in polyculture with H. nobilis of overall density of 0.2 IND/m2 [6].

SPAWNERSWILD: large schools during spawning season [31]FARM: earthen ponds: polyculture with other carps of overall density of 0.2 IND/m2 [34].


6. Is the species likely to be non-aggressive and non-territorial? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: no aggression reported in polyculture with Labeo catla [10], with O. niloticus and C. carpio [7], or with H. nobilis together or not with I. punctatus [5]. No aggression reported in polycultures with 3 other carps and P. sophore and A. mola, but H. molitrix affected growth of L. rohita and L. catla probably by competitive interactions for food [8].

ADULTS: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: no aggression reported in polycultures with other carp species [34].


7. Are minimal farming conditions likely to match the natural substrate and shelter needs of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
M
Certainty

Eggs: WILD: no data found yetFARM: for carps in general, double-walled hapa nets (e.g., mosquito netting and whole cloth) to protect from predators [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 2.

LARVAE and FRYWILD: non-native waters: LARVAE: mainly at >123.5 NTU, more frequently at >163 NTU [24]FARMFRY: rectangular concrete tanks: Secchi disc visibility 0.6 m [3]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: non-native waters: prefer cobble, but also found in sand and gravel [21], mean 58.5-119.7 NTU [28] [24], but increasing turbidity increased stress [28], Secchi disc 0.1-0.5 m [30] [28]FARM: earthen ponds: turbid waters during monsoon (transparency: 0.3 m) [8], 9-15 NTU [6], Secchi disc 0.13-0.14 m [7]; enclosures opened to sediment in reservoirs: Secchi disc <1 m, with a high fish density increasing the water transparency [13]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD: non-native waters: prefer cobble, but also found in sand and gravel [21], mean 58.5-119.7 NTU [28] [24], but increased turbidity increased stress [28], Secchi disc 0.1-0.5 m [30] [28]. Reservoirs in native waters: Secchi disc 2.5 m [23]FARM: earthen ponds: 9-15 NTU [6]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

SPAWNERSWILD: spawn in rivers or tributaries over shallow rapids with gravel or sand bottom [31]. Non-native waters: prefer cobble, but also found in sand and gravel [21], mean 59.8-119.7 NTU [24]FARM: for details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.


8. Are minimal farming conditions (handling, confinement etc.) likely not to stress the individuals of the species? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILESWILD: non-native waters: stress levels change seasonally (less stressed in autumn) [30] [28] and are increased by turbidity and density of Dorosoma cepedianum as potential competitors [28]FARM: injuries, mouth deformities, increased mortality by handling due to jumping against the cages of galvanised wire, which could be potentially reduced by less handling, using larger cages and softer material like nylon netting [12]. A low-dose of benzocaine or especially of quinaldine decreased stress response and mortality for up to 6 h of transportation in mechanically aerated aluminium vessels [35].

ADULTSWILD JUVENILESFARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD: non-native waters: stress levels change seasonally (more stressed in summer probably because of spawning season) [30] [28]. FARMno data found yet.


9. Are malformations of this species likely to be rare under farming conditions? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAEWILD: no data found yetFARM: for carps in general, malformations due to insufficient nutrition [4]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. molitrix as well.

JUVENILESWILD and FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD: non-native waters: 2.3% of females with a few abnormally developing oocytes at different stages of maturation (probably sterile), 8% of intersex IND in males and 44% of females with atretic follicles in the pre-spawn stage of reproductive maturation [29]FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERSWILD: non-native waters: 3% of females with atretic follicles in the spawning stage of reproductive maturation [29]FARMno data found yet.


10. Is a humane slaughter protocol likely to be applied under minimal farming conditions? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

L
Likelihood
H
Potential
L
Certainty

Common slaughter method: commonly sold live or fresh locally [18], so probably asphyxia. High-standard slaughter method: percussive stunning (one or two blows on the head with a wooden club) followed by scaling, gutting, and filleting is less stressful than immersion in ice or gill cutting followed by the same slaughter procedures [37] [38].


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 [39], fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: planktonic feeder, mainly on phytoplankton [40] [4] [18] [32] [15] [27] [20] [23] but also on zooplankton  [40] [32] [20] [23] or detritus [18] [32] [15], especially in more polluted environments [27]. FARM: no additional feed in polyculture [41]. Phytoplankton feeder [5] [11] [13], but can also feed on zooplankton [11] [13] (FRY fed on zooplankton and later changed to phytoplankton [2]), rarely organic detritus [5]. JUVENILES did not accept artificial feed [5] which not affected growth [7] but improved survival in polycultures [7].


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 = selective breeding programmes are used focusing on specific goals [39]
FARM = setting in farm environment
FISHES = Using "fishes" instead of "fish" for more than one individual - whether of the same species or not - is inspired by Jonathan Balcombe who proposed this usage in his book "What a fish knows". By referring to a group as "fishes", we acknowledge the individuals with their personalities and needs instead of an anonymous mass of "fish".
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
NTU = Nephelometric Turbidity Units
POTAMODROMOUS = migrating within fresh water
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild


Bibliography

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[18] NOT FOUND
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