Version: B | 1.1 (2022-03-25)
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)
Lutjanus johnii is a snapper species native to the Indo-West Pacific. It inhabits estuaries from the Fiji Islands to East Africa and from Australia to Ryukyu Islands. However, two different species with the same morphology might be considered to be L. johnii, one of them inhabiting the Straits of Malaca, Thailand, Australia, and China, and the other one living also in China as well as in India. It is cultured in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and Pakistan and valued for recreational fishing in both Australia and Malaysia, where it is overfished and vulnerable to climate change. In the wild, L. johnii can live up to at least 28 years. In farms, juveniles attain market size (600-800 g) in 6-8 months, so they do not reach adulthood unless they are kept as broodstock. Natural spawning in captivity has not been achieved. Spawning after artificial manipulation is possible, but many farms still obtain fingerlings from natural catches locally or more usually imported. Collection of spawners in the wild is not recommended because L. johnii is highly susceptible to barotrauma when caught from depths greater than 10-15 metres. Field data on L. johnii are currently insufficient and should be augmented by inshore surveys and observation of natural behaviours in its habitat. Further research on reproduction is needed to ensure a closed life cycle and to avoid the decimation of the natural populations. Improvements in the farming conditions are needed in order to accommodate the migration needs of juveniles, and adding environmental enrichment into cages will certainly improve their welfare. L. johnii's welfare can also be improved by using farming systems that promote a natural habitat and behaviour of the species as well as by developing humane stunning and slaughtering methods.
Note: The age class "Adults" in this profile refers to a) large juveniles or adults in the wild (due to imprecision in the maturity stage in the references) and b) large juveniles in farms (due to farmers considering individuals as adults based on their size instead of their maturity status).
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?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.
LARVAE and FRY: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: floating hapa net cages: 4-25 m2 (2 x 2, 3 x 3, 5 x 5 m) 1 2; fibre-reinforced plastic tanks: 2 t 3.
JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: floating net cages 4: wood: 1-1.5 m2 (1 x 1, 1.5 x 1 m) 5; PVC: 2 m2 (2 x 1 m) 5; polyethylene: 4-25 m2 (2 x 2, 3 x 3, 5 x 5 m) 1 2 6; circular plastic tanks: 0.3 m3 7; sea cages: 6 m diameter 8 (for JUVENILES to become SPAWNERS).
ADULTS: WILD: mostly side fidelity 9 10 at 1 km2 9 in offshore coral reef areas 11 12 13 14 and shallow coastal water 13 14, but 19% of IND move 10-50 km 9 10, and 1% up to 140 km along the coast 9. FARM: floating polyethylene net cages: 4-25 m2 (2 x 2, 3 x 3, 5 x 5, 6 x 3 m) 1 2 6.
SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: for JUVENILES to become SPAWNERS ➝ JUVENILES. Circular fibre-reinforced plastic tanks: 5 t 8; Re-circulating Aquaculture System: 125 t 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' whole depth range in captivity?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.
Eggs and LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: 2-3 m 1 2. Water depth recommended to be ≥2 m deeper than net cages 1.
JUVENILES: WILD: 1.6-7.5 m 15 or 2-5 m 16; at <8 cm TOTAL LENGTH: mainly <3 m 15. FARM: 2-3 m cages 1 2 6 or 1 m cages in 3-10 m water depth 5; sea cages: 5 m 8 (for JUVENILES to become SPAWNERS). Water depth recommended to be ≥2 m deeper than net cages 1.
ADULTS: WILD: more abundant at 30-40 m 12, but found at 3-55 m 17 and up to 80 m 11; caught at 20-25 m 18, 40-50 m 19, but also at 15 m max. depth in inshore reefs 20. FARM: ➝ LARVAE.
SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: for JUVENILES to become SPAWNERS ➝ JUVENILES.
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 medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.
LARVAE and FRY: WILD: at <5 cm: coastal and river mouths 15, estuaries and lagoons 22. FARM: for details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: migration from coastal area to mangrove 16: at 5-15 cm: estuaries 15, with some migrating upstream up to 13 km 16; at >20-22 cm: migration offshore 15. 22.1-32.0 °C 23, 27.3-31.6 °C 15, 20.9-27.6 °C 10; 12.4-28.3‰ 15 16. FARM: 25‰ or more 1. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2. LAB: 27.0 °C 7.
ADULTS: WILD: coral reef in the open sea 11 12 13 14; nearshore water 13 14. FARM: 14 h PHOTOPERIOD 8. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
SPAWNERS: WILD: probably in coral reefs or at deep sea areas 12 13. FARM: for details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1.
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 of theses circumstances?It is low for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.
WILD: mature from 8 years (females) and 5 years (males) 13 9, but also 1.7-4 years 12 14 and females 3.5-4.5 kg 12, 30.1-63.0 cm 12 24 13 9, males 2.3-3.0 kg 12, 29.1-47 cm 12 13 9. Spawn early September (Andaman Sea 11) to late April-July (Iran 24). Sex ratio: 1.2 females:1 male 24. For spawning substrate ➝ crit. 7. FARM: females mature at 950 g and 40 cm, males at 1.1 kg and 43 cm 8. Sex ratio: 1 female:2 males 8. Successful induced spawning 22 8 3 using human chorionic gonadotropin 8 or luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogue 25-26. During spawning process, females move near the surface with the male swimming just below the female 8.
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.
LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: at 75-100 mm: 100-150 6 to 500 IND/m2 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: 20-80 IND/m3 5; at 125-150 mm: 44 IND/m2 2 6.
ADULTS: WILD: large schools 13. FARM: 16 IND/m3 or 40 IND/m2 2 6.
SPAWNERS: WILD: aggregation during spawning season 10. FARM: no data found yet.
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 and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.
LARVAE: no data found yet.
JUVENILES: cannibalistic 22.
ADULTS: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: no data found yet.
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 medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.
LARVAE and FRY: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: use of clear water recommended, suspended solids ideally <5 mg/L and should not exceed 10 mg/L, turbid water not suitable for farming 1. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: frequent in mangrove estuaries 11 20 15 13 14 10 and occasionally in turbid waters near headlands, rocky reef structures, and with associated sandy areas 20 10. FARM: ➝ LARVAE.
ADULTS: WILD: abundant in turbid waters around hard substrata 27 like snags and pinnacles 13 or man-made structures like wharfs and jetty pylons 27; in complex topography in muddy coastal areas, in headlands and rocky shores, shallow inshore reefs with ledges 27 and mangrove roots 20 27. Occasionally on deeper, sandier trawl grounds offshore 20 28. FARM: ➝ LARVAE.
SPAWNERS: WILD: spawn in open water or scatter on substrate, do not guard the eggs 29. FARM: ➝ LARVAE.
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.
LARVAE: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: pre-shipment, trans-shipment, and on-farm sanitation protocols recommended to reduce stress and mortality of FINGERLINGS 2 6.
JUVENILES: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: stressed by polluted waters 5, importation 2, and handling 2. Survive better in monoculture than in biculture with Pomadays kaakan 5.
ADULTS: WILD: highly susceptible to barotrauma when caught from depths >10-15 m 9 30 31. FARM: manual harvesting 2 6.
SPAWNERS: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.
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 no findings for minimal and high-standard farming conditions.
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 and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.
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 2 34, level 5 being fully domesticated.
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 11 2 5 15. FARM: no data found yet.
AMPHIDROMOUS = migrating between fresh water and sea independent of spawning
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 2 = part of the life cycle closed in captivity, also known as capture-based aquaculture 34
FARM = setting in farming environment or under conditions simulating farming environment in terms of size of facility or number of individuals
FINGERLINGS = early juveniles with fully developed scales and working fins, the size of a human finger; for details ➝ Findings 10.1 Ontogentic development
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
PHOTOPERIOD = duration of daylight
SPAWNERS = adults during the spawning season; in farms: adults that are kept as broodstock
TOTAL LENGTH = from snout to tip of caudal fin as compared to fork length (which measures from snout to fork of caudal fin) 21 or standard length (from head to base of tail fin) or body length (from the base of the eye notch to the posterior end of the telson)
WILD = setting in the wild
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