African sharptooth catfish

Clarias gariepinus

Taxonomy
    • Osteichthyes
      • Siluriformes
        • Clariidae
          • Clarias gariepinus
Distribution

Information


Author: João L. Saraiva
Version: 2.0 (2022-01-22)

Cite

Reviewers: Pablo Arechavala-Lopez, Jenny Volstorf
Editor: Billo Heinzpeter Studer

Cite as: »Saraiva, João L.. 2022. Clarias gariepinus (Farm: Short Profile). In: FishEthoBase, ed. Fish Ethology and Welfare Group. World Wide Web electronic publication. First published 2017-06-12. Version 2.0. https://fishethobase.net.«





FishEthoScore/farm

Clarias gariepinus
LiPoCe
Criteria
Home range
Depth range
Migration
Reproduction
Aggregation
Aggression
Substrate
Stress
Malformations
Slaughter


Condensed assessment of the species' likelihood and potential for good fish welfare in aquaculture, based on ethological findings for 10 crucial criteria.

Li = Likelihood that the individuals of the species experience good welfare under minimal farming conditions
Po = Potential of the individuals of the species to experience good welfare under high-standard farming conditions
Ce = Certainty of our findings in Likelihood and Potential

FishEthoScore = Sum of criteria scoring "High" (max. 10)

Legend

High
Medium
Low
Unclear
No findings



General remarks

Clarias gariepinus is a very resilient and fast growing air-breathing fish. It is farmed mostly in Africa, South America, Asia and China, using extensive and traditional methods as well as intensive and industrial techniques. Probably due to its resilience, and despite promising biological traits, some aspects of welfare are either disregarded or overlooked. It is an aggressive fish and easily stressed by usual rearing conditions and practices. It is sensitive to environmental cues when spawning, and usual farming procedures for reproduction are highly invasive. If proper attention is given to these aspects and if reared in conditions that respect spatial needs, it has potential to be reared in good welfare conditions.




1  Home range

Many species traverse in a limited horizontal space (even if just for a certain period of time per year); the home range may be described as a species' understanding of its environment (i.e., its cognitive map) for the most important resources it needs access to. What is the probability of providing the species' home range in captivity?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: remain in shallow vegetated areas 1 2. FARM: ponds: 100-150 m2 3; tanks: 0.34-2.40 m3 4.

FINGERLINGS: WILD: may move to deeper areas  1 2FARM: ponds: 100-150 m2 3; tanks: 0.34-2.40 m3 4.

JUVENILES: WILD: diel movements can exceed 200 m, but usually 40-200 m, occasionally <40 m 5. Yearly home range ca 6 km2 5FARM: large variation in pond size: 2-240 m(Africa), 1-2,500 m2 (Bangladesh, Nepal) 6; tanks: 0.73-10 m3 4.

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: remain in restricted, shallow areas 1 2. FARM: large variation in pond size: 2-240 m(Africa), 1-2,500 m2 (Bangladesh, Nepal) 6; tanks 0.73-10 m3 4; natural spawning ponds: 400 m2 3.




2  Depth range

Given the availability of resources (food, shelter) or the need to avoid predators, species spend their time within a certain depth range. What is the probability of providing the species' depth range in captivity?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: shallow margins of lakes 1. FARM: 0.4-0.8 m in earthen ponds 3 7.

JUVENILES: WILD: <1.0-10 m 5. FARM: ponds: 0.5-3.0 m 6

ADULTS: WILD and FARM:  Juveniles.

SPAWNERS: WILD: 0.5-2.0 m in spawning season 5 2. FARM: 0.5-3.0 m 6. Natural spawning occurs preferentially at 0.25-0.50 m 8.




3  Migration

Some species undergo seasonal changes of environments for different purposes (feeding, spawning, etc.) and with them, environmental parameters (photoperiod, temperature, salinity) may change, too. What is the probability of providing farming conditions that are compatible with the migrating or habitat-changing behaviour of the species?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: freshwater species, resident in lakes 1 2 5 9 6, streams, rivers, swamps and floodplains 6. Move from deeper to shallower areas to spawn 2 5. FARM: movements can be mimicked by lowering water level 8. Higher growth, lower aggression, and less swimming and stress under 0L:24D and 6L:18D cycles than under 12L:12D and 18L:6D 10.




4  Reproduction

A species reproduces at a certain age, season, and sex ratio and possibly involving courtship rituals. What is the probability of the species reproducing naturally in captivity without manipulation?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: water rising and flooding of margins triggers spawning 2 6. Adults move to shallow, recently flooded margins of rivers to spawn during the rainy season (September-March) 9 6. Males aggressively compete for access to females, who lay eggs in vegetation 2 6. Monogamous spawning 2 6. FARM: mostly artificial spawning 3. Hormonal induction of spawning 11 12 3 6, surgical stripping to collect milt of males, manual stripping of females to collect eggs, manual fertilisation 12 13 6. Triploidy induction is common 12. However, natural spawning is possible 3 8.




5  Aggregation

Species differ in the way they co-exist with conspecifics or other species from being solitary to aggregating unstructured, casually roaming in shoals or closely coordinating in schools of varying densities. What is the probability of providing farming conditions that are compatible with the aggregation behaviour of the species?

There are unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: tanks 22,700-29,400 ind/m3 4.

JUVENILES: WILD: live in abundant groups (Willoughby 1978). FARM: ponds >8 ind/m7; tanks: 6,800-9,200 ind/m3 4.

ADULTS:  JUVENILES

SPAWNERS: WILD: Form large and dense spawning aggregations 2. FARM: natural spawning in ponds: 0.25-1 ind/m2 3 8, hormone-induced spawning inside hapas in ponds: ca 1 ind/m2 3.




6  Aggression

There is a range of adverse reactions in species, spanning from being relatively indifferent towards others to defending valuable resources (e.g., food, territory, mates) to actively attacking opponents. What is the probability of the species being non-aggressive and non-territorial in captivity?

It is low for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet.  FARM: cannibalistic, aggressive 14.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: aggressive 15 16.

ADULTS: WILD: no data found yet.

SPAWNERSWILD: aggressive when spawning 2 6. FARM: mostly artificial spawning 12 13 6




7  Substrate

Depending on where in the water column the species lives, it differs in interacting with or relying on various substrates for feeding or covering purposes (e.g., plants, rocks and stones, sand and mud). What is the probability of providing the species' substrate and shelter needs in captivity?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: shallow, vegetated areas, bottom dwellers 1 2. Use vegetation for concealment 2. FARM: Ponds provide natural substrate and vegetation 13 3. No reports of substrate enrichment in tanks and cages found in the literature.

FINGERLINGS LARVAE

JUVENILES: WILD: generalist suction feeder 17 18. Feed on macrophytes 9FARM: Ponds provide natural substrate and vegetation 13 3. No reports of substrate enrichment in tanks and cages found in the literature.

ADULTS Juveniles.

SPAWNERSWILD: use vegetation in shallow areas to spawn 2 5 9FARM: ponds provide natural substrate and vegetation 13 3 8. No reports of substrate enrichment in tanks and cages found in the literature.




8  Stress

Farming involves subjecting the species to diverse procedures (e.g., handling, air exposure, short-term confinement, short-term crowding, transport), sudden parameter changes or repeated disturbances (e.g., husbandry, size-grading). What is the probability of the species not being stressed?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: sensitive to handling 19.

JUVENILES: stressed by handling and transportation 20. More stressed by netting at 500 IND/m3, 2,276 IND/m3, and 3,000 IND/m3, indicating chronic stress 21. For stress and PHOTOPERIOD crit. 3.

ADULTS:  JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: females stressed by transportation, handling, and emersion 22.




9  Malformations

Deformities that – in contrast to diseases – are commonly irreversible may indicate sub-optimal rearing conditions (e.g., mechanical stress during hatching and rearing, environmental factors unless mentioned in crit. 3, aquatic pollutants, nutritional deficiencies) or a general incompatibility of the species with being farmed. What is the probability of the species being malformed rarely?

It is low for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: 20% broken skull disease due to ascorbic acid deficiency in feed (supplementation solves the issue) 23; up to 70% intestinal malformation 24 12, reported to be solved with good rearing conditions and water quality 12.

JUVENILES: no data found yet.

ADULTS: no data found yet.




10  Slaughter

The cornerstone for a humane treatment is that slaughter a) immediately follows stunning (i.e., while the individual is unconscious), b) happens according to a clear and reproducible set of instructions verified under farming conditions, and c) avoids pain, suffering, and distress. What is the probability of the species being slaughtered according to a humane slaughter protocol?

There are unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Common and high-standard slaughter method: several protocols available: stunning with captive pistol (8 bar pressure) and chilling in icewater 25, dry electro-stunning (0.76 A, 150 V, AC+DC for 15 s) followed by chilling and decapitation 26 or freshwater electro-stunning (1.60 ± 0.11 A/dm2, 50 Hz, sinusoidal, A.C., conductivity of 876 μS) followed by chilling and decapitation 27.




11  Side note: Domestication

Teletchea and Fontaine introduced 5 domestication levels illustrating how far species are from having their life cycle closed in captivity without wild input, how long they have been reared in captivity, and whether breeding programmes are in place. What is the species’ domestication level?

DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 28, level 5 being fully domesticated.




12  Side note: Forage fish in the feed

450-1,000 milliard wild-caught fishes end up being processed into fish meal and fish oil each year which contributes to overfishing and represents enormous suffering. There is a broad range of feeding types within species reared in captivity. To what degree may fish meal and fish oil based on forage fish be replaced by non-forage fishery components (e.g., poultry blood meal) or sustainable sources (e.g., soybean cake)?

All age classes: WILD: mostly carnivorous 1 2 9. FARM: fish meal and fish oil may be completely* replaced by sustainable sources 29 30 31.

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




Glossary


LARVAE = hatching to mouth opening, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
WILD = setting in the wild
FARM = setting in farm environment
FINGERLINGS = fry with fully developed scales and working fins, the size of a finger; for details Findings 10.1 Ontogentic development
JUVENILES = fully developed but immature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
ADULTS = mature individuals, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
SPAWNERS = adults that are kept as broodstock
0L = 0h light
24D = 24 h dark
6L = 6 h light
18D = 18 h dark
12L = 12 h light
12D = 12 h dark
18L = 18 h light
6D = 6 h dark
IND = individuals
PHOTOPERIOD = duration of daylight
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 = entire life cycle closed in captivity without wild inputs 28



Bibliography


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[14] NOT FOUND
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