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

Mylopharyngodon piceus is a freshwater carp native to rivers and lakes of Asia that was introduced in Europe, the United States, and other countries. This species is a carnivorous bottom-dweller fish that does not leap out of the water and, consequently, is not easily detected or caught in large and deep rivers. M. piceus is considered one of the four Chinese major carps (among Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, H. nobilis, and Ctenopharyngodon idella), which has a high growth rate and an apparent great invasion potential. Large juveniles and adults use their heavy pharyngeal teeth to crash molluscs shells, mainly feeding on these animals. Thus, besides culturing M. piceus to sell as meat because of its good flavour and highly marketable potential, this species is also cultured in polycultures with other carps or other fish species for biological control, to feed from molluscs (mainly gastropods) that are potential intermediate hosts for diseases or that can cause other problems. In the United States, this species is mostly used for snail control in catfish ponds. Spawners migrate upstream during spring to early summer to spawn in open and turbid waters. An increase in the river flow is the key triggering factor to spawning. Wild information about this carp species is rare and much information related to farm conditions is also still missing, especially related to aggression, substrate, stress response, malformations, and slaughter process. Further research about basic information from wild and cultured M. piceus is needed.


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 FRYWILD: no data found yet. FARM: earthen ponds: 2,025 m2 [1]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 100-1,000 m2 [2]; tanks: 1.4 m2 (1.2 x 1.2 m) [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 600 m2 (20 x 30 m) [3], 45,000 m2 (at 0.4% of stocked triploid IND, for biological control of Planorbella trivolvis[4]; floating cages in reservoirs (polyculture with other carp species): 56-64 m3 [5].

ADULTSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 10,000 m2 (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS[1].

SPAWNERSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds; 10,000 m2 [1]; cement tanks: 140 m2 [6]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 20-30 m [2], 100-140 m2 [7]-[8] or 2,000-25,000 m2 [2]; storage tanks: 200 m2 (10 x 20 m), 450 m2 (15 x 30 m) [2]; 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 [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus 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?

?
Likelihood
?
Potential
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRYWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.5-1.5 m [7]-[8]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.5-1.2 m [2]; tanks: 1.2 m [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

JUVENILESWILD: benthic foraging species [9] [10] [11], but occasionally feed at or near the surface in non-native waters [11]FARM: earthen ponds: 1.1-1.3 m [3], 1.3-3 m [7]-[8].

ADULTSWILD:  JUVENILESFARM: earthen ponds: 1.5 m (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS[1]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 0.8-2 m [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

SPAWNERSWILD JUVENILESFARM: earthen ponds: 1.5 m [1]. For carps in general, earthen ponds: 1.0-2.5 m [7]-[8] [2] or deeper depending on climate zone [2]; storage tanks: 1.0-1.5 m [2]; breeding tanks: 1 m [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus 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 [12]-[8] [13]-[8] [14] [15].

LARVAE and FRYWILD: 10-16 h photoperiod, fresh water [16]-[8] [17]-[8]FARM: earthen ponds: 11-13 h photoperiod, fresh water [1]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: 10-16 h photoperiod [16]-[8] [17]-[8], 9-15 h in non-native waters [9] [11], fresh water [16]-[8] [17]-[8] [9] [11]FARM: earthen ponds: 11-13 h photoperiod [1], range 25.2-33.4 °C [3], salinity 0.01%, fresh water [3] [1]. For details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD:  JUVENILESFARM:  LARVAE and FRY.

SPAWNERSWILD: 10-16 h photoperiod, fresh water [16]-[8] [17]-[8]. Migrate upstream to spawn in open waters (channels) [12]-[8] [13]-[8] [14] [15], with more eggs when the water level is higher by flow increase [14]FARM: LARVAE and FRY.


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: mature at 6-11 years old, but can be earlier depending on the latitude [7]-[8] [18]-[8] [19]-[8] [17]-[8]; males mature slightly earlier than females [20]-[8]. Spawn spring-early summer [12]-[8] [13]-[8] [14] [15]. Spawning triggered mainly by temperature, but also by rising water [7]-[8]FARM: mature at 6 years old [1]; females reach maturity at 6-7 years, males probably are mature 1 year earlier [21]. Chinese fish farmers were unable to naturally spawn M. piceus in ponds [8]. Successful induced to spawn with pituitary extract from C. carpio or a commercial preparation of gonadotropin [18]-[8], a single hormone injection of a combination of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin and fresh carp pituitary gland [6], pituitary gland extract or synthetic hormone FlashTM [1]. Sex ratio: 1 female:1 male [1]. Eggs and seminal fluid collected by stripping and mixing them [1]. For carps in general, in storage tanks, spawners are kept separated by sex [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus 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
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRYWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 1.2 g/m2 [1], 100 IND/m2 [7]-[8]. 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 [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

JUVENILESWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.01-0.24 IND/m2 [7]-[8], higher growth at 0.2 than 0.3-0.4 IND/m2 in polyculture with 5 other carp species of overall density of 1 IND/m2 [22], 0.004-0.006 IND/m2 (triploid IND) to control P. trivolvis in a polyculture with I. punctatus of overall density of 1.5 IND/m2 [4]; floating cages in reservoirs: 12 IND/m2 of M. piceus and C. idella in a polyculture with 2 other carps and Megalobrama amblycephala of overall density of 300-450 IND/m2 [5].

ADULTSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.005 IND/m2 or 0.3 kg/m2 (for ADULTS to become SPAWNERS) [1].

SPAWNERSWILD: no data found yetFARM: earthen ponds: 0.005 IND/m2 or 0.3 kg/m2 [1].


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 of triploid IND reported in a polyculture with I. punctatus [4].

ADULTS: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: 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?

L
Likelihood
M
Potential
L
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 [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

LARVAE and FRYWILD: no data found yetFARM: for details of holding systems  crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILESWILD: non-native waters: caught in turbid rivers [15]. For foraging mode crit. 2. FARM LARVAE and FRY.

ADULTSWILD:  JUVENILES. FARM LARVAE and FRY.

SPAWNERSWILD: for foraging mode crit. 2. For Asian carps, sand and gravel (not mud) and water with mud and sand, showing yellowish turbidity [23]-[8]. Further research needed to determine wether this applies to M. piceus as well. FARM LARVAE and FRY.


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
L
Certainty

LARVAE and FRY: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: stressed by handling [24].

ADULTSno data found yet.

SPAWNERSno 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: for carps in general, malformations due to insufficient nutrition [2]. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.

JUVENILES: no data found yet.

ADULTSno 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 Cyprinus carpio, a) asphyxia (followed by percussion) [25] [26], b) percussion, c) electrical stunning [27] [25]. High-standard slaughter method: for C. carpio, percussive plus electrical stunning or immersion in clove oil [26] [27]. Further research needed for a specific protocol and to determine whether this applies to M. piceus as well.


Side note: Domestication

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 [28], level 5 being fully domesticated.


Side note: Feeding without components of forage fishery

All age classes: WILD: carnivorous: old JUVENILES and ADULTS prey heavily on molluscs [19]-[8] [29], also in non-native waters [9] [10], but could feed from a wider variety of insects and other invertebrates with flexibility in foraging behaviour, both in native [30]-[8] and in non-native waters [11]. FARM and LAB: (triploid) JUVENILES feed on molluscs (P. trivolvis) [4] [31]. LAB: fish oil may be mostly* to completely* replaced by sustainable sources [32]; fish meal may be partly* replaced by non-forage fishery components (with fish oil slightly increased) [33].

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


Glossary

ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 = entire life cycle closed in captivity without wild inputs [28]
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


Bibliography

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