Russian sturgeon

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Russian sturgeon)
Taxonomy
    • Osteichthyes
      • Acipenseriformes
        • Acipenseridae
          • Acipenser gueldenstaedtii
Distribution
Distribution map: Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Russian sturgeon)

Information


Author: João L. Saraiva
Version: 2.0 (2021-12-21) - Revision 1 (2022-07-20)

Cite

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

Cite as: »Saraiva, João L.. 2022. Acipenser gueldenstaedtii (Farm: Short Profile). In: FishEthoBase, ed. Fish Ethology and Welfare Group. World Wide Web electronic publication. First published 2017-05-30. Version 2.0 Revision 1. https://fishethobase.net.«





FishEthoScore/farm

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii
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

Acipenser gueldenstaedtii is a critically endangered species, present in the IUCN red list. It is cultured for restocking, food (fish flesh), and for caviar. Many aspects of its biology remain unknown, namely aggregation patterns, aggression, and stress responses. In addition, many aspects of its production are not available, such as densities, slaughter protocols, and malformation rates. Spawning induction is highly invasive, and special attention should be given to adequate substrate in various production stages.




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' whole home range in captivity?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: move downstream 1-2. FARM: ponds: 2 ha 3; circular tanks: 2 m diameter 3. For sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 2-4 m2 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well. LAB: move downstream during the first 8 days 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: ponds: 1-4 ha 4; tanks: 125-1,050 m2 (25-70 x 5-15 m) 5. For sturgeons in general, cages: 20-100 m2 (15-20 m2 for overwintering) 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well. LAB: net cages: 4 m2 (2 x 2 m) 6; tanks: 40 m 7.

ADULTS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM:  JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILDno data found yet. FARM: for sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 120-130 m 4 or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 30-60 x 12 m 4; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 30-50 m2 4 or cages: 20-100 m2 4; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >40 m3 4 or "Kurinsky" type concrete ponds: 105 x 17 m or 1,000-4,000 ha separated into different compartments 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well.




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' whole depth range in captivity?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD: hatch from the substrate in deep rivers 3. Mostly 6-9 m deep 2. FARM: 1 m 4. For sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 20 cm 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: 8-60 m 8. FARM: tanks and ponds: <3 m 5. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 2.3-2.5 m 4; cages: 2.5-3.5 m 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well. LAB: 0.8-2 m 9 6

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: 8-90 m 8. FARM: >1.5 m depth for maturation of parents 4. For sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 0.5-2.5 m 4 or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 1.5-2.5 m 4; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 2 m 4 or cages: 3-3.5 m 4; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >1.5 m 4. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well.




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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

ANADROMOUS 2.

LARVAE: WILD: migrate downstream in rivers 2 10FARM: fresh water 4 11. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2. Current may be used in rearing tanks 5.

JUVENILES: WILD: migrate downstream 2, reaching in coastal or brackish water zones 3FARM: fresh water 11. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTSWILD: live in coastal or brackish water zone 2FARM JUVENILES.

SPAWNERSWILD: migrate upstream to spawn 8 12 4FARM JUVENILES.




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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: upstream spawning migrations 8 12 occur March-November 4. Sturgeons spawn in upper stretches of rivers 13, where they lay adhesive eggs 3FARM: biopsy 4 or endoscopy 14 to assess ripeness of females. Hormonal induction of spawning 4 3Modern techniques are less invasive and include ecography to assess maturity and manual stripping, all under anaesthesia 5.




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 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: 5,000 IND/m2 4LAB: spontaneous very dense shoals 4.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: high-standard farms use 18-30 kg/m3, but may be under 10 kg/m3 5LAB: 8-12 IND/m3 6.

ADULTSWILD: no data found yet. FARM:  JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: 20-25 kg/m3 in maturation ponds 4, but densities of 12-15 kg/m3 are used in high-standard farms 5. High stocking density raises cortisol levels and lowers gamete quality 15.




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?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: FARM: not aggressive in high-standard farming conditions 5. LABA. fulvescens is reported to be non-aggressive 16. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well. 

ADULTS: FARM: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: FARM: no data found yet.




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 medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Eggs: WILD: adherent to pebbles and stones in the substrate 3 17FARM: de-adhesion procedure 3.

LARVAE: WILD and LAB: use pebbles and stones for concealment 12. FARM: no shelter or enrichment reported in literature; bottom grids in hatching trays may mimic natural conditions 5.

JUVENILES: WILD: BENTHIC feeders 3. FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter 5. Shading does not enhance growth 18

ADULTS JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: spawn in rocky substrate 19FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter 5.




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 low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: no data found yet.

ADULTSno data found yet.

SPAWNERS: confinement and air exposure raise cortisol levels 20. For stress and stocking density crit. 5.




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?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: high-standard conditions may lower malformation rate to 2-3% 5.

JUVENILESno 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?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Common slaughter method: for the related A. baerii, hypothermia by immersion in ice-water slurry 21. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. gueldenstaedtii as well. High-standard slaughter method: percussive stunning through manual spiking or percussive gun performed by experienced staff, followed by bleeding 5.




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 22, 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: carnivorous 12. FARM: no replacement of fish meal and fish oil reported in literature. 




Glossary


LARVAE = hatching to mouth opening, for details Findings 10.1 Ontogenetic development
WILD = setting in the wild
FARM = setting in farming environment or under conditions simulating farming environment in terms of size of facility or number of individuals
LAB = setting in laboratory environment
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
ANADROMOUS = migrating from the sea into fresh water to spawn
IND = individuals
BENTHIC = living at the bottom of a body of water, able to rest on the floor
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 = entire life cycle closed in captivity without wild inputs 22



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