Version: B | 1.1 (2022-02-24)
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)
Sepia officinalis is mostly found in the eastern Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea, attaining interest for fisheries and high market value; and it is used as an animal model for biological and biomedical research, for aquaculture production, and also for public exhibition in aquariums. However, the main bottlenecks in the S. officinalis culture are reproduction, feeding, and nutrition, which need to be solved before applying them to an industrial scale for human consumption. Though it is already cultured for the complete life cycle in consecutively bred generations, wild individuals (eggs) are still being introduced to improve genetic pools. Detrimental for welfare in captivity are the seasonal migrations (mainly vertical) S. officinalis undertakes in the wild and that the current farming techniques result in high stress due to high densities, aggregations, and food and mate competitions, which consequently increase aggression at different life stages. In addition, cuttlefish skin is particularly sensitive and can be easily damaged during handling, transportation or stressful conditions due to confinement, and a humane slaughtering protocol is not yet established.
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 and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.
LARVAE: WILD: NEKTONIC 1 2. FARM: indoor or outdoor tanks and ponds: minimum bottom areas of 0.06 m2 3.
JUVENILES: WILD: NEKTONIC 1 2, 0.3-1.3 km2 4. FARM: circular tanks and closed seawater system: 1,800 L 5; raceway tanks: 10 L and minimum area of about 1,083 cm2 3.
ADULTS: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: ➝ JUVENILES.
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.
LARVAE: WILD: 0-200 m depth, mostly 0-100 m 6. FARM/LAB: indoor or outdoor tanks: about 0.5 m 7 8.
JUVENILES: WILD: ➝ LARVAE. FARM: indoor or outdoor tanks, ponds: about 0.5 m 9 7 8.
ADULTS: WILD: larger individuals are encountered in the deeper part of the range 10. FARM: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: WILD: migrate to shallower waters for spawning 6. Females generally lay eggs rarely below 30-40 m 6. FARM: ➝ 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 and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.
LARVAE: WILD: based on distribution in eastern Atlantic to Mediterranean Sea 1 2, estimated 3-20 h PHOTOPERIOD. Further research needed on migration. FARM: 12-16 h PHOTOPERIOD 11 12, 20 °C 5 13. For details of holding conditions ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: inshore migration to shallow water areas during the spring, arriving later than ADULTS 14 15 16 17. Move 0.6-2.5 km/day in shallow waters 18 4 19. FARM: 12-16 h PHOTOPERIOD 11, 25 °C 5. For details of holding conditions ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
ADULTS: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: WILD: inshore spawning migration 6, likely influenced by sea temperatures and currents 15 20. FARM: PHOTOPERIOD should replicate natural geographical conditions during spawning 7. For details of holding conditions ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
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.
WILD: reproduce at 1-2 years old 21 14. Two spawning peaks: a first major peak of large individuals in early summer and a second minor peak of medium and small-sized individuals in late summer and early autumn 6. Maximum potential fecundity of 8,000 eggs 22. For spawning migration ➝ crit. 3. Females die shortly after spawning 23 6. FARM: eggs commonly obtained from captive cultured populations or through wild captures (including spawners) 24. PHOTOPERIOD and temperature range resembling natural geographical conditions during spawning in the wild 25. Natural spawning including mating behaviour 7. Sex ratio: 1:2-3 male:female 9 26 27 28 29 27 12.
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?It is low for minimal and high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.
LARVAE: WILD: usually solitary 30. FARM: 500 IND/m2 3. Stressed by confinement characteristics (space), high rearing densities, and food competition 31 28 7, which can be reduced by size-grading 31 7.
JUVENILES: WILD: ➝ LARVAE. FARM: 20-400 IND/m2 9 5 3 32. Stressed by confinement and high rearing densities 31 28 7. Stress by food competition may be reduced by size-grading 31 7.
ADULTS: WILD: ➝ LARVAE. FARM: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: WILD: reproductive aggregations 33. FARM: 2-4 IND/m2 9 34 28 29 12 24 13. Stressed by confinement and high rearing densities 31. Stress by food competition may be reduced by size-grading 31 7.
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 farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium amount of evidence.
LARVAE: cannibalism and food competition (feeding hierarchies), which can be reduced by avoiding animals of different age groups together (maximum difference: 10 days after hatching) 31 7. Competition for space 28.
JUVENILES: ➝ LARVAE.
ADULTS: ➝ LARVAE.
SPAWNERS: courtship behaviour: aggressive mating behaviour and male-to-male aggressions, which can be avoided with adjusted sex-ratios (1 male and 2-3 females) 29 34 28 12 24 13. Stressed by mating competition 7.
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.
LARVAE: WILD: BENTHIC 6. Mainly on sandy and muddy bottoms, but also associated to seagrass beds and rocky bottoms 21 35 36. FARM: no substrate added in tanks 9 37. Dark round-shaped fibreglass tanks recommended or wall foam protection, low light intensities, and aeration systems based on airlift pump supply to avoid skin damages 38 7. Earthen ponds provide natural substrate 7. Stressed by the presence of predators or potential threats 39. In ponds, net barriers should be used for preventing cuttlefish capture by birds 7. However, high adaptability to environmental changes 40.
JUVENILES: ➝ LARVAE.
ADULTS: ➝ LARVAE.
SPAWNERS: WILD: females lay their eggs on hydrodynamic locations, attached to wild flora and fauna or to human-related structures 6. FARM: no substrate added in tanks 3. Dark round-shaped fibreglass tanks recommended or wall foam protection, low light intensities, and aeration systems based on airlift pump supply to avoid skin damages 38 7. Tank should have large bottom areas 32 13. The use of a combination of natural or natural-resembling artificial light sources and tank colours is recommended or using water repellent shading nets if reared outdoors 7. Earthen ponds provide natural substrate 7. Females attach their eggs on collectors (i.e., ropes, airlines and nets) 7. Use of black hatching baskets or raceway tanks 41. Stressed by the presence of predators or potential threats 39. In ponds, net barriers should be used for preventing cuttlefish capture by birds 7. However, high adaptability to environmental changes 40.
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 high amount of evidence.
for stress and a) stocking density ➝ crit. 5, b) shelter ➝ crit. 7.
JUVENILES: stressed by handling may be reduced by anaesthetics 42. For stress and a) stocking density ➝ crit. 5, b) shelter ➝ crit. 7.
ADULTS: ➝ JUVENILES.
SPAWNERS: for stress and a) stocking density ➝ crit. 5, b) aggression ➝ crit. 6, c) shelter ➝ crit. 7.
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.
LARVAE: cuttlebone deformations due to high pCO2 exposure 43.
JUVENILES: no data found yet.
ADULTS: no data found yet.
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 medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a medium 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 4 49, 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; prey on crustaceans, fishes, molluscs, polychaetes, and nemertean worms 6. FARM: live shrimps or frozen diets based on crustaceans or a mixture of crustaceans and fishes 7. Unsuccessful attempts of partly* replacing fish meal and fish oil with pelleted diets 51 52 53 54.
*partly = <51% – mostly = 51-99% – completely = 100%
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 50
FARM = setting in farming environment or under conditions simulating farming environment in terms of size of facility or number of individuals
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
NEKTONIC = horizontal movement by active swimming
PHOTOPERIOD = duration of daylight
SPAWNERS = adults during the spawning season; in farms: adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild
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