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 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

Huso dauricus is a long-lived, late-maturing, and critically endangered sturgeon species endemic in the Amur basin. There are four populations: one lives in the estuaries and brackish waters of the Sea of Okhotsk and Sea of Japan, the second in the lower Amur, the third in the middle Amur, and the forth in the lower parts of the Zeya and Bureya rivers (Amur tributaries). H. dauricus' eggs are very valuable in the market, however, its meat is not as popular as the meat of other local fishes. Therefore, profitable H. dauricus farming is focused on eggs production. Russian and Chinese authorities enforce H. dauricus farms to do regular restocking of the wild populations. H. dauricus' late-maturing state and long period between spawning events make their farming very costly. Some farms specialised in the more profitable hybrid of Acipenser schrenckii x H. dauricus. However, farming of H. dauricus is strongly recommended to restock the decimated wild populations. Therefore, an effort should be made to study their needs in the wild, such as home range and social behaviour, and the best way to implement them in captivity, including a way to simulate their long migration, to reproduce them without forced maturation, and to slaughter them in a humane way.


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?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: WILDno data found yet. FARM: fibreglass tanks: 1.8 m diameter [1] [2]; circular flow-through rearing tanks: 1,400L [3]. For sturgeons (in general) cultured in China: fibreglass tanks: 1 m diameter [4]; cement ponds [4], ponds, and net cages [5].

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: tanks: 0.8 m2 (1 x 0.8 m) [6]. For sturgeons (in general) cultured in China: cement tanks [4], cages [4], ponds, and net cages [5].

ADULTS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: for sturgeons (in general) cultured in China: cement tanks [4], cages [4], ponds, and net cages [5].

SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: concrete tanks: 100 m2 [7].


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
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: fibreglass tanks: 0.4 m [1]. LAB: preference for 0.2 m above the tank bottom [1], >3.3 m during migration and ≤1 m after migration [3].

JUVENILES: WILD: caught in estuary of <5 m [8] with unclear depth range use. Caught at 7-8 m in river [9]. FARM: 0.6 m [6]. LAB: preference for ≤0.5 m [3].

ADULTS: WILD: caught in estuary of <5 m [8] with unclear depth range use. FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD: spawns at 2-3 m [10], <3-11 m [7]. FARM: concrete tanks: 1.5 m [7].


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
L
Potential
L
Certainty

Two strains: one ANADROMOUS, one POTAMODROMOUS [11].

ANADROMOUS strain:

LARVAE and FRY: WILD drift downstream to lower Amur and estuaries [11]. FARM: natural lighting and photoperiod [1]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2. LAB: downstream migration after hatching mostly at night, with some daily upstream migration after day 17 [1].

JUVENILES: WILD: 0-3 years old: in Amur channel, 3-5 years old: some migration to Amur lagoon for feeding, 7+-13+ years old: mostly at Amur lagoon for feeding [12]. Caught in coastal sea waters [13]-[11] including coast of Hokkaido, Japan (~1,000 km from Amur estuary) [14] [15]. Migration to sea at north of estuary (110 km) for feeding in July-Sept (6-16.5 °C) [8]. Salinity range: 0-25‰, preference for <7.5‰ [8]. Die at salinities of 29-30‰ and temperatures <0 °C if they can't reach the river in time after seawater currents enter the estuaries [16]-[11]. Sakhalin river population: 8-16 h photoperiod, 11-16 °C in June-July [9]. FARM: for details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTS: WILD: 20-25% of the estuary population: brackish water morph (winter in river or estuary, late June-early July migration to downstream brackish water of estuaries or to the sea at salinities of 12-16‰, return to river in autumn) [11]. Stop feeding during winter [17]-[11] [18]-[11] [19]-[11] [20]-[11] [21]-[11]. FARM: for details of holding systems  crit. 1.

SPAWNERS: WILD: migrate 80-1,000 km (mostly 80-180 km) from estuaries or lower Amur to the spawning sites at Amur river [22]-[11] in mid August for 55 days [23] to spawn in spring [22]-[11]. 5% [11] migrate in mid May for 35 days [23]. Stop feeding during migrations and return to estuaries after spawning to feed [11]. FARM: natural light conditions [7], 3-6 months overwintering [7]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

POTAMODROMOUS strain:

LARVAE and FRY: WILD drift downstream to lower Amur [11]. FARM: natural lighting and photoperiod [1]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2. LAB: downstream migration after hatching mostly at night, with some daily upstream migration after day 17 [1].

JUVENILES: WILD: 75-80% of the estuary population: freshwater morph (feed in freshwater only) [11]. Sakhalin river population: 8-16 h photoperiod, 11-16 °C in June-July [9]. FARM: for details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTS: WILD: 75-80% of the estuary population: freshwater morph (feed in freshwater only) [11]. FARM: for details of holding systems  crit. 1.

SPAWNERS: WILD: migrates 80-1,000 km (mostly 80-180 km) from lower Amur to the spawning sites at Amur river in autumn-early winter to spawn in spring [22]-[11]. 5% migrate in spring [11]. Stop feeding during migrations and return to lower Amur after spawning to feed [11]. FARM: natural light conditions [7], 3-6 months overwintering [7]. 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
M
Certainty

WILD: spawning in May-June, in upstream rivers, at 15-21 °C [24] [11] [10]. Males spawn for the first time at 14-21 years, females at 17-23 years [11]. Recent studies show later maturation: males at 18 years, females at 21 [25] [23]. Females mature earlier with warmer waters [11]. Males spawn once every 3-4 years, females once every 4-5 years [19]-[11] [22]-[11]. No feeding during migration/spawning [17]-[11] [18]-[11] [19]-[11] [20]-[11] [21]-[11]. FARM: for H. huso, biopsy or minimally invasive laparoscopy to identify sex and assess maturity [26]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. dauricus as well. When reaching a certain weight, also non-invasive assessment via ultrasonography [27]. Induced ovulation (and spermiation [7]) by hormonal injection [1] [7] at 5 (males) and 8 (females) years old [7]. Gametes extraction [1] by cannula (males) and surgery (females) [7] – the latter under anaesthesia [27] – and manual fertilisation [1] [7]. Artificial reproduction using wild spawners [5]. Not fed during final maturation to simulate natural behaviour [7].


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
L
Certainty

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

JUVENILES: WILD: dense concentrations when feeding on migratory prey [28]. Max 174.3-472.3 IND/km2 in estuary or upstream [8] [29], 37.3-92.0 IND/km2 depending on salinity [8] [29], 3.3-20.7 IND/km2 depending on river stretch [8] [29]. No aggregations in estuary or coastal waters [28]. FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD: dense concentrations when feeding on migratory prey [28]. Max 174.3-472.3 IND/km2 in estuary or upstream [8] [29], 37.3-92.0 IND/km2 depending on salinity [8] [29], 3.3-20.7 IND/km2 depending on river stretch [8] [29]. Solitary [10], no aggregations in estuary or coastal waters [28]. FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD: dense concentrations [28]. FARM: no data found yet.


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: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: frequent cannibalism [11] [28]. FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD: frequent cannibalism [11] [28]. 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? What overall welfare potential can be achieved? How certain are these findings?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: natural lighting, rearing tank partially covered for shade, 8 cm rocks at tank bottom for cover [1]. LAB: preference for illuminated areas, white substrate (vs. black), and open habitat (vs. covered with rocks) [1] [3].

JUVENILES: WILD and FARM: no data found yet. LAB: preference for illuminated areas, white substrate (vs. black), and open habitat (vs. covered with rocks) [3].

ADULTS: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: calm waters and gravel bottoms with pebble deposits [30]-[11] [24] [10] or sand [10]. FARM: no data found yet.


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

JUVENILES: WILD: deformed gills [31]. FARM: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILD: deformed gills [31]. 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: for H. huso, asphyxiation by immersion in ice-water slurry [32]. High-standard slaughter method: for Acipenser ruthenus, A. naccarii, A. gueldenstaedtii, A. ruthenus, A. stellatus, percussive stunning through manual spiking or percussive gun performed by experienced staff, followed by bleeding [33]; for A. baerii, electronarcosis and percussive stunning by spiking, followed by bleeding [34]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to H. dauricus as well.


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 3 [35] [7], level 5 being fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: carnivorous [24], with focus on invertebrates in JUVENILES and fishes in ADULTS [11]. FARM: no data found yet.


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
ANADROMOUS = migrating from the sea into fresh water to spawn
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 3 = entire life cycle closed in captivity with wild inputs [35]
FARM = setting in farm environment
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
POTAMODROMOUS = migrating within fresh water
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild


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