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 0 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 nobilis is one of the four Chinese major carps, together with H. molitrix, Ctenopharyngodon idella and Mylopharyngodon piceusH. nobilis is a native freshwater fish from lakes, rivers, and reservoirs of south and central China, but was already introduced in many countries. This eurythermic carp dwells in the upper layer of the water column, being considered a planktivorous fish – especially feeding on zooplankton – but it can also feed on detritus and benthic organisms on the bottom opportunistically. It is one important aquaculture species that has been farmed for more than a thousand years and, together with H. molitrix, is one of the most intensively cultured fish species in Asia. H. nobilis is frequently used as a filter-feeding fish in polyculture ponds in China, stocked for water quality improvement and as a biocontrol method for phytoplankton. Besides ponds, this carp is also commonly raised in pens, cages or reservoirs with other carps or other fish species as Ictalurus punctatus and Polyodon spathula. A competition for food may be expected with Labeo catla or with other FISHES with similar feeding habits in such polycultures. It is a fast growing fish that could be sold before reaching maturity. In natural conditions, this carp migrates to the upper reaches of rivers to spawn during early summer, with rising water level as the essential stimulus for this. Despite its commercial importance, most wild information is still missing for this species. After being harvested, very little handling and process is used with this fish, as it is usually consumed fresh, mainly locally. Further research about the slaughtering process is needed as well as about substrate use, stress response, and malformations under farming conditions.

Note: The age class "Adults" for farming conditions refers to large juveniles and young adults due to farmers estimating age class by size rather than by maturity status. Also, “Adults” refers to individuals to become spawners or for algae control, as the literature does not always specify.


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 yetFARM: LARVAE: aquaria: 76 L [1]FRY: rectangular ponds: 400 m[2]; rectangular concrete tanks: 20 m2 [2]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 100-1,000 m2 [3]; tanks: 1.4 m2 (1.2 x 1.2 m) [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

JUVENILESWILDno data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 240-8,000 m2 [4] [2] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]; rectangular concrete ponds: 20 m2 [12]; floating cages: 1,000 L [4], 9 m2 (3 x 3 m) [13], 16 m2 (4 x 4 m) [14]; cylindrical cages: 450 L [15], 1.2 m diameter [5]; raceways (concrete sides and substrate): 59.3 m2 (24.7 x 2.4 m) [16]; pens: 360,000 m2 [17].

ADULTSWILD: non-native waters: mean 0.2-6.8 km/day, with maximum daily movement rates of 64 km/day [18] [19]FARM: earthen ponds: 1,000-8,000 m[6] [7] [8]; floating cages: 9 m2 (3 x 3 m) (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS) [13], cylindrical cages: 1.2 m diameter [5].

SPAWNERSWILD:  ADULTS. FARM: indoor circular holding tanks: 5 m diameter [14], circular breeding tanks: 2 m diameter of 2,000 L [20]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 20-30 m or 2,000-25,000 m2 [3]; storage tanks: 200 m2 (10 x 20 m), 450 m2 (15 x 30 m) [3]; 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) [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis 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

LARVAE and FRYWILD: no data found yetFARMFRY: rectangular ponds: 1.0 m [2]; rectangular concrete tanks: 0.6 m [2]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.5-1.2 m [3]; tanks: 1.2 m [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

JUVENILESWILD: opportunistic feeder, switching between filter- or bottom-feeding (in a lake of mean 3.8 m depth) depending on the habitat [21]-[22] [23]FARM: earthen ponds: 1.0-2.0 m [2] [5] [6] [9] [11]; rectangular concrete ponds: 1.2 m [12]; floating cages: 2-3 m [14] [13]; cylindrical cages: 1.3 m [5]; pens: 2 m [17].

ADULTSWILD: non-native waters: 2.4 m [24], mean 4-4.1 m, range 0.5-13.7 m [19]. Opportunistic feeder, switching between filter- or bottom-feeding (in a lake of mean 3.8 m depth) depending on the habitat [21]-[22] [23]. FARM: earthen ponds: 2.0 m [6]; floating cages: 2 m (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS) [13]; cylindrical cages: 1.3 m [5]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.8-2 m [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

SPAWNERSWILD: ➝ ADULTSFARM: indoor circular holding tanks: 1 m [14]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 1.0-2.5 m or deeper depending on climate zone [3]; storage tanks: 1.0-1.5 m [3]; breeding tanks: 1 m [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis 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 [25] [19].

LARVAE and FRYWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26], maximum ~30 °C [26], non-native waters: range 23.2-26.7 °C (summer) [24], fresh water [26] [24]. Caught in lake of 10 km2 area [26] with unclear migration distance. FARMFRY: minimum of 24.5 °C in rectangular ponds or concrete tanks [2]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26] [23], maximum ~30 °C (July-August) and minimum ~5 °C (February) [26], non-native waters: range 2-27.5 °C, with the lowest degrees in winter and the hottest temperatures during the summer [27] [24], fresh water [26] [27] [23] [24]. Caught in lakes of 3.5-32 km2 area [26] [23] with unclear migration distance. FARM: earthen ponds: range 2.8-33 °C [6] [7] [8] [28] [9] [11], with the lowest degrees in winter and the hottest temperatures during the summer [7] [8] [9]; raceways (concrete sides and substrate): mean 10.9 °C [16]; floating net cages: range 24-32.5 °C [13]; pens: range 12.7-33.6 °C [17]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26] [23], maximum ~30 °C (July-August) and minimum ~5 °C (February) [26], non-native waters: range: 2-29.6 °C, with the lowest degrees in winter and the hottest temperatures during the summer [27] [19] [24], mean 23.7 °C (spring), with a range of 24.4-28.2 °C during high river flow [18], fresh water [26] [27] [19] [23] [24]. Caught in lakes of 3.5-32 km2 area [26] [23] with unclear migration distance. FARM: earthen ponds: range 20-32 °C (spring-summer) [6] [7] [8] and 6-25 °C (winter) [8]; floating net cages: range 24-32.5 °C (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS) [13]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

SPAWNERSWILD: 11-14 h photoperiod [26], maximum ~30 °C [26], non-native waters: range 12.3-29.6 °C [27] [19] [24], mean 23.7 °C (spring), with a range of 24.4-28.2 °C during high river flow [18], fresh water [26] [27] [18] [19] [24]. Caught in lake of 10 km2 area [26] with unclear migration distance, non-native waters: migrate upstream to spawn (triggered by flood pulses): 60-462 km [19]FARM: 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: mature at 3-5 years old [29]-[3], breed during monsoon (April-September, China), in flowing river waters [3]. Spawning between May (early spring) and October (autumn) and probably can spawn multiple times per year in non-native waters [27]FARM: mature at 2 [13] [20] or 3 years old [30], or even before 2 years old, especially if fed with prepared diets as supplement [14] [13]. Sex ratio: 1 female:2 males [13] [20] or 2-3 females: 4-6 males [14]. Unable to spawn in static waters of ponds or tanks [3] [25]; hormone injection and environmental stimuli of flowing water is essential for induced spawning [25]. Successful induced spawning by hypophysation [2] or with luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogue followed by stripping and together [13] or not [1] [14] with human chorionic gonadotropin, especially if fed with prepared diets as supplement [14] [13]. Successful induced spawning with carp pituitary gland extract during natural breeding season [31] [30] or with synthetic hormones Ovatide and especially with Ovaprim-C with better results when such hormones are individually combined with Profasi (human chorionic gonadotropin) for females [20]. Extraction of eggs and milt by stripping [31] [13] [30] [20]. For carps in general, in storage tanks, spawners are kept separated by sex [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis 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?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
M
Certainty

LARVAE and FRYWILD: LARVAE: non-native waters: 0.0-0.5 IND/m3, depending on the temperature, turbidity, and velocity of the water [24]FARM: better survival of LARVAE at 28,000 IND/m3 than at 57,000 IND/m3 [1]FRY: rectangular ponds or concrete tanks: 37 IND/m2 [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 [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

JUVENILESWILDno data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.1-10 IND/m2 [2] [5] [9] [11], 0.03-0.1 IND/m2 in polyculture with 1-2 other carps of overall density of 0.1-0.2 IND/m2 [4] [6] [10]  or 0.1 IND/m2 in polyculture with H. molitrix and I. punctatus of overall density of 2.8 IND/m2 [4], better growth at 0.01 than 0.03 or 0.05 IND/m2 in monocultures [8] and at 0.04 than 0.08 or 0.1 IND/m2 in polyculture with I. punctatus of overall density of 1.3-1.4 IND/m2 [7]. Rectangular concrete ponds: 0.7 IND/m2 in polyculture with P. spathula of overall density of 1.4 IND/m2 [12]. Floating cages: 0.0002 IND/L [14], 1.3 IND/m2 [13] or 0.03 IND/L in polyculture with H. molitrix of overall density of 0.05 IND/L [4]. Cylindrical cages: 0.3-0.6 IND/L [15], 30 IND/cage of 1.2 m of diameter [5]. Pens: 0.2-19.1 g/m3 in a polyculture with H. molitrix of overall density of 0.5-55.4 g/m3 [17].

ADULTSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.06 IND/m2 in polyculture with H. molitrix of overall density of 0.2 IND/m2 [6], better growth at 0.01 than 0.03 or 0.05 IND/m2 in monocultures [8], but higher mortality at 0.008 than 0.03 or 0.04 IND/m2 in polyculture with I. punctatus of overall density of 1.3 IND/m2 [7]. Floating net-cages: 1.3 IND/m2 (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS) [13]. Cylindrical cages in ponds: 12.5 IND/ m3 [5].

SPAWNERSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.2 IND/m2 [30], also as a total density in polycultures with other carps [31].


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 FRYWILD and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILESWILD: no data found yetFARM: no aggression reported [4] [7] and no effect on growth, survival or feed conversion ratio at different stocking densities in polycultures with I. punctatus [7] or in polycultures with other carps [4] [10]. No competition for food in polyculture with C. carpio [32]. Competition for food in polycultures with P. spathula, with no aggression reported [12], but mentioned as a possibility [28].

ADULTSWILDno data found yetFARM: no aggression reported and no effect on growth, survival or feed conversion ratio at different stocking densities in polycultures with I. punctatus [7].

SPAWNERSWILD: no data found yetFARM: no aggression reported in polycultures with other carp species [31].


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 [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

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 [2]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: non-native waters: mean 59.8-119.7 NTU [24]. For foraging mode ➝ crit 2. FARM: earthen ponds: 9-15 NTU [6]. Relation with the bottom: in extensive production (i.e. without additional feed), better growth in ponds than in cages, probably due to inefficient filter-feeding of small phytoplankton in cages and a higher feed choice in ponds (phyto-, zooplankton, benthic organisms) [4] [5]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD: ➝ JUVENILESFARM: earthen ponds: 9-15 NTU [6]. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.

SPAWNERSWILD: non-native waters: 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?

/
Likelihood
/
Potential
/
Certainty

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

JUVENILES: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD and FARM: no 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

LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: for carps in general, malformations due to insufficient nutrition [3]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: pugheadedness in 1% [33].

ADULTSWILD: non-native waters: 7% of intersex individuals in males [27]FARM: no 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
M
Potential
L
Certainty

Common slaughter method: probably asphyxia [25]. High-standard slaughter method: for C. carpio, percussive plus electrical stunning or immersion in clove oil [34] [35]. Further research needed for a specific protocol and to determine whether this applies to H. nobilis as well.


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 [36], fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: planktonic feeder, mainly on zooplankton [3] [25] [26] [23], but can also eat detritus [21]-[22] [23]FARM: no additional feed in polyculture or extensive culture, but applied fertiliser (animal manure or plant wastes) increases zooplankton mass [25]. Zooplankton feeder [25] [17], but can also feed on phytoplankton [17], especially when cultured in cages [4] [5], probably by filter-feeding [5]. All age classes accept artificial feed (e.g., by-products from grain processing, trout pellets) [25] [4].


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 = selective breeding programmes are used focusing on specific goals [36]
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
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


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