Adriatic sturgeon

Acipenser naccarii

Taxonomy
    • Osteichthyes
      • Acipenseriformes
        • Acipenseridae
          • Acipenser naccarii
Distribution

Information


Author: João L. Saraiva
Version: 2.0 (2021-12-21) - Revision 1 (2022-06-08)

Cite

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

Cite as: »Saraiva, João L.. 2022. Acipenser naccarii (Farm: Short Profile). In: FishEthoBase, ed. Fish Ethology and Welfare Group. World Wide Web electronic publication. First published 2017-10-27. Version 2.0 Revision 1. https://fishethobase.net.«





FishEthoScore/farm

Acipenser naccarii
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 naccarii is a critically endangered species of the sturgeon family. It was probably driven to extinction in the wild due to overfishing and was preserved solely due to the efforts of regional governments and fish farms (one in Italy and the other in Spain) that started a reproduction programme. Nowadays its production efforts are divided between repopulation and caviar. A minor percentage is hybridised with Acipenser baerii for meat production. It is however surprising that almost no information on the biology of this species is available and therefore neither a clear assessment of its current welfare state nor potential for improvement is possible. Further research should be dedicated to all the criteria evaluated on the list below as well as the success of the repopulation effort.




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?

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: trays or troughs: 2-4 m2 1 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: ponds or raceways 3: 125-1,050 m2 (25-70 x 5-15 m) 2. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 1-4 ha 1; cages: 20-100 m2 (15-20 m2 for overwintering) 1. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

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

SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yetFARM: for sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 120-130 m 1 or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 30-60 x 12 m 1; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 30-50 m2 1 or cages: 20-100 m2 1; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >40 m3 1 or "Kurinsky" type concrete ponds: 105 x 17 m or 1,000-4,000 ha separated into different compartments 1. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii 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' depth range 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: ca 0.5 m 1 2. For sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 20 cm 1. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: deep river pools 10-40 m 4. FARM: ponds or raceways 3: <2 m 2. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 2.3-2.5 m 1; cages: 2.5-3.5 m 1. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well.

ADULTS: JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: eggs laid in still waters in the margins of rivers or lakes 5, depth not reported. FARM: ponds or raceways 3: <2 m 2. For sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 0.5-2.5 m 1 or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 1.5-2.5 m 1; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 2 m 1 or cages: 3-3.5 m 1; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >1.5 m 1. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii 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 medium amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

ANADROMOUS 6.

LARVAE: WILD: fresh water 6. FARM: fresh water 7. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: estuaries 6 4. FARM: usually reared in freshwater ponds or raceways 3. Sensitive to temperature of 25 ºC 8. For details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

ADULTS: WILD: estuaries 6 4, occasionally coastal saltwater areas 9 4. FARM JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: rivers 6 4. FARM LARVAE.




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 low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: Acipenser species use gravel, pebbles, and stones in shallow, upper stretches of rivers as spawning grounds 6, where they lay adhesive eggs 10. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: maturation is achieved through hormonal induction 7 11 4. Modern techniques are less invasive and include ultrasound for sexing and assessing maturity and manual stripping, all under anaesthesia 12.




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 and FARM: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: other Acipenser species are known to aggregate 13. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: ponds: 1-5 kg/m2 3; tanks: 30-40 kg/m2 for sturgeons in general 3; high-standard farms: <10 kg/m3 2.

ADULTS JUVENILES.

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




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 improved farming conditions 12. LABA. fulvescens is reported to be non-aggressive 14. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii 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?

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: WILD and LAB: other Acipenser species use pebbles and stones for concealment 15. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: for details of holding systems crit. 1 and 2.

JUVENILES: WILD: muddy or sandy bottoms 4 16. FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter 2.

ADULTS: JUVENILES.

SPAWNERS: WILD: other Acipenser species spawn in rocky substrate 17. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. FARM: earthen ponds are able to provide natural substrate and shelter 2.




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?

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: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: not stressed by routine handling and crowding 8. For stress and temperature crit. 3.

ADULTS: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: no data found yet.




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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: anecdotal reports of heart malformation in 9-10 days old alevins 18.

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 low amount of evidence.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Common slaughter method: no data found yet. High-standard slaughter method: percussive stunning through manual spiking or percussive gun performed by experienced staff, followed by bleeding 12.




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 19, 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 4. 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 farm 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
LAB = setting in laboratory environment
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 4 = entire life cycle closed in captivity without wild inputs 19



Bibliography


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