Hybrid sturgeon

BAExNAC, NACxBAE

Taxonomy
    • Osteichthyes
      • Acipenseriformes
        • Acipenseridae
          • BAExNAC, NACxBAE

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. BAExNAC, NACxBAE (Farm: Short Profile). In: FishEthoBase, ed. Fish Ethology and Welfare Group. World Wide Web electronic publication. First published 2018-02-18. Version 2.0 Revision 1. https://fishethobase.net.«





FishEthoScore/farm

BAExNAC, NACxBAE
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

The hybrid sturgeons 'AL' (Acipenser naccarii female x A. baerii male) and 'LA' (A. baerii male x A. naccarii female) have been reared successfuly since the early 90s in Italy. Their growth, resistance, and weaning outperform the original species, and their caviar is highly appreciated. Therefore this hybrid has become very attractive for Italian sturgeon farming. However, little is known about their rearing process and much less about their biology, physiology, and behaviour under farming conditions. This information is of utmost importance because this hybrid is impossible to occur in nature, since the distribution of both species does not overlap. There is a large research gap to be covered in all the criteria below in order to provide a correct assessment of this hybrid's welfare and potential for improvement.




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: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii: initially PLANKTONIC, so no home range 1. At 3 days post-hatching with limited movement 1. FARM: AL*, LA*: for sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 2-4 m2 2. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii: no data found yet. FARM: AL*, LA*: net cages: 4 x 4 m in artificial ponds of 25,000 m2 3; AL*: concrete tanks: 600 m3 4. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 1-4 ha 2; cages: 20-100 m2 (15-20 m2 for overwintering) 2. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well.

ADULTS: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii: no data found yet. FARM: AL*: concrete tanks: 600 m3 4 5. LA*: no data found yet.

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

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Eggs: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii: BENTHIC 6, depth not reported. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

LARVAE: WILDA. naccarii: no data found yetA. baerii: initially PELAGIC 1. At 3 days post hatching become BENTHIC, with limited movement 1, depth not reported. FARM: AL*, LA*: for sturgeons in general, rearing tanks or trays: 20 cm 2. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well.

JUVENILES: WILD: A. naccarii: deep river pools 10-40 m 7. A. baerii: 20-50 m, occasionally 100-150 m 8. FARM: AL*, LA*: net cages: 1.2 m at 5 m depth 3; AL*: concrete tanks: 600 m3 4. For sturgeons in general, ponds: 2.3-2.5 m 2; cages: 2.5-3.5 m 2. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well.

ADULTS: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii:  JUVENILES. FARM: AL*: concrete tanks: 600 m3 4 5. LA*: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD: A. naccarii: eggs laid in still waters in the margins of rivers or lakes 9, depth not reported. A. baerii: no data found yet. FARM: AL*, LA*: for sturgeons in general, pre-spawn holding in "Kazansky" type earthen ponds: 0.5-2.5 m 2 or "Kurinsky" type earthen ponds: 1.5-2.5 m 2; long-term holding in concrete tanks: 2 m 2 or cages: 3-3.5 m 2; overwintering of breeders in plastic and concrete tanks: >1.5 m 2. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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?

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: A. naccarii: fresh water 10. A. baerii: initially PELAGIC, dragged downstream 1. At 3 days post-hatching become BENTHIC and stationary in the bottom 11 1 12. FARM: AL*, LA*: fresh water 13.

JUVENILES: WILD: A. naccarii: estuaries 10 7. A. baerii: some populations stationary in rivers and lakes 14, others migrate to estuaries 10. FARM: A. naccarii: sensitive to temperature >25 ºC 15. A. baerii: stressed by heat 16. AL*, LA*: fresh water 3 17 4.

ADULTS: WILD: A. naccarii: estuaries 10 7, occasionally coastal saltwater areas 18 7. A. baerii:  JUVENILES. FARM: AL*, LA*: fresh water 4 5.

SPAWNERS: WILD: A. naccarii: rivers 10 7. A. baerii: migrate upstream from lower river basins or estuaries 10 to spawn 19 20 21 22 14. FARM: AL*, LA*: fresh water 5.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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?

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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

WILD: A. naccarii: no data found yet. Acipenser species use gravel, pebbles and stones in shallow, upper stretches of rivers as spawning grounds 10, where they lay adhesive eggs 6. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. A. baerii: spawning in May-June at water temperatures 9-18 °C in the main channel of rivers over stony-gravel or gravelly-sand bottoms near the depressions in which they winter 8. No data found yet on spawning behaviour. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii: shoaling phase between 7 and 11 days post hatching 22. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii: other Acipenser species are known to aggregate 23. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii and A. baerii as well. FARM: net cages: 52 IND/m3 3.

ADULTS: WILD: A. naccarii, A. baerii:  JUVENILES. FARM: ponds: 0.14-0.5 IND/m3 (2-4.3 kg/m3 with 8-14 kg individuals) 4.

SPAWNERS: WILD: A. naccarii:  JUVENILES. A. baerii: presumably form spawning aggregations 8. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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 no findings for minimal and high-standard farming conditions.

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: A. naccarii, A. baerii, AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: A. naccarii, A. baerii, AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

ADULTS: A. naccarii, A. baerii, AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: A. naccarii, A. baerii, AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

LARVAE: WILD and LAB: A. naccarii: other Acipenser species use pebbles and stones for concealment 24. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. A. baerii: BENTHIC eggs, adherent to substrate 6. LARVAE use substrate for shelter from 17 days post-hatching onwards 1. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: WILD: A. naccarii: muddy or sandy bottoms 7 25. A. baerii: BENTHIC 26, covered bottom habitats 1, preference for sand, silt, and pebbles 27-22. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

ADULTS: WILDA. naccarii, A. baerii JUVENILES. FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: WILD: A. naccarii: other Acipenser species spawn in rocky substrate 28. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to A. naccarii as well. A. baerii: spawn in main river channel over stone-gravel or gravel-sand bottoms 29-30FARM: AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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

Likelihood
Potential
Certainty

Eggs and LARVAE: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii: very sensitive to mechanical stress 31. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: A. naccarii: not stressed by routine handling and crowding 15. For stress and temperature  crit. 3. A. baerii: stressed confinement 32 and farm-levels of nitrates in the water 32. Show resistance and rapid recovery to air exposure 33. For stress and temperature  crit. 3. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

ADULTS: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii:  JUVENILES. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

SPAWNERS: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii: stressed by injections but not by confinement 34. Further research needed to disentangle contradictory results. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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: A. naccarii: anecdotal reports of heart malformation in 9-10 days old alevins 35. A. baerii: malformations in the abdominal cavity, heart, yolk sac walls, skeleton, tail muscles, body trunk, and head structures in 3.6-11.4% of individuals 36 1 37 31 38. High-standard conditions may lower malformation rate to 2-3% 39. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

JUVENILES: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii: may incur deformations upon reactions to loud noises or abrupt events (thunders, sudden movements, etc.) 39. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

ADULTS: A. naccarii: no data found yet. A. baerii:  JUVENILES. AL*, LA*: no data found yet.

 

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male




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 A. baerii, hypothermia by immersion in ice-water slurry 40. Further research needed to determine whether this applies to AL* or LA* as well. High-standard slaughter method: percussive stunning through manual spiking or percussive gun performed by experienced staff, followed by bleeding 41.




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?

Hybrid. DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 42, fully domesticated. Human production since 1993 43.




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: A. naccarii: carnivorous 7. A. baerii: carnivorous 6. FARM: AL*: fish meal may be mostly** replaced by non-forage fishery components 44. LA*: no data found yet.

*AL: A. naccarii female and A. baerii male; LA: A. baerii female and A. naccarii male

**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
PLANKTONIC = horizontal movement limited to hydrodynamic displacement
FARM = setting in farming environment or under conditions simulating farming environment in terms of size of facility or number of individuals
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
BENTHIC = living at the bottom of a body of water, able to rest on the floor
PELAGIC = living independent of bottom and shore of a body of water
IND = individuals
LAB = setting in laboratory environment
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 5 = selective breeding programmes are used focusing on specific goals 42



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