Version: B | 1.1 (2022-07-20)
WelfareScore | farm
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
WelfareScore = Sum of criteria scoring "High" (max. 10)
Lutjanus argentimaculatus is a snapper species native to the tropical and subtropical Indo-West Pacific from Samoa to East Africa and from Ryukyu Island (Japan) to Australia. It has been introduced in the Mediterranean Sea through the Suez canal (although it is not established there yet) and is found in the Aegean sea (Turkey) and near Lebanon and Greece. It is commercially demanded in Asia for its food quality and popular in Australia for recreational fishing. L. argentimaculatus is a long-lived species of up to 57+ years migrating to estuaries and freshwater habitats as juveniles and returning offshore to mature, spawn, and spend the rest of its life (except occasional visits to estuaries). There is high variability in depth range and life history (migration, reproduction) depending on latitude/climate. Most research has focused on migrations, natural and induced reproduction, and dietary needs. Further research is needed to determine natural behaviours (such as social and sexual behaviour), natural home range, aggression/territoriality in the wild, effects of handling and confinement on health and welfare, malformation rates, and slaughter protocols. In farms, L. argentimaculatus is usually cultured for 7-13 months. Therefore, due to late maturity in this species, most individuals are juveniles at harvesting time. Larvae are either collected from the wild or purchased from stocks. Due to the adults’ need to migrate for spawning, rearing individuals to become spawners is not recommended unless migration options are available.
Note: The age class "Adults" for farming conditions refers to large juveniles and young adults due to farmers estimating age class by size rather than by 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.
ADULTS: WILD: mostly offshore 8 4 9, but also found in estuaries 10. Further research needed for specific ranges. FARM: flow-through concrete tanks: 150 t or 60.8 m2 (7.8 x 7.8 m) 2; concrete ponds: 3,000 t 11.
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 and FARM: no data found yet.
JUVENILES: WILD: 1.5-6 m, mainly 5-6 m in Australia 5 or <1.5 m in South Africa 13. FARM: net cages of 1 m depth 6 in ≥1.0 m 1 or of 2 m depth in ≥2.5 m ponds 7; flow-through concrete tanks: 2.0 m 2 (for JUVENILES to become SPAWNERS).
SPAWNERS: WILD: relatively deep offshore waters 4 and in reef lagoons and outer reef slopes (in Palau) 8. Further research needed for specific depths. FARM: circular concrete tanks: 1.5 m 2; concrete ponds: 3 m 11; floating net cages: ≥5 m 12.
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.
JUVENILES: WILD: migration from offshore towards the coast and into estuaries and freshwater habitats in spring-summer depending on latitude 21-4 22. Mainly site fidelity 4 23 or moving within 1 km in estuaries and freshwater habitats 4; some move mean 4.3-10 km 5 24; rarely: inter-riverine (up to 85 km) 4. Overnight migration to mangrove habitat during high tides for foraging purposes 24. Migrate offshore to mature, the timing dependent on latitude or ecological conditions 21-4 4 23 25. FARM: salinity: 16-40 ppt . For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
ADULTS: WILD: offshore, occasional trips to the coast and into estuaries at 324-430 mm or 3-11 years of age 4. 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 farming conditions. It is high for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a high amount of evidence.
WILD: mature from 7-8+ years on 25 4, but also 1-3+ years depending on latitude 23. Spawn in spring-autumn with peak in summer or year round depending on latitude and ecological conditions 21-4 26 4 23. Sex ratio: average 1 male:1.2 females (monthly variations) 9. Spawning activity peaks at 14-18 days into the lunar month (in Palau) 8. FARM: spawn at 5-7 years 12. Natural spawning usually occurred 23:00-00:00 11 or 02:00-04:00, 3 days before or after the last quarter and newmoon phases with a sex ratio of 1 female:1.1 males 12. Successful induced spawning using luteinising hormone-releasing hormone analogue or human chorionic gonadotropin 12. Sex ratio for induced spawning: 1 female:2 males 12. Higher hatching, percentage of normal larvae, and cumulative egg-to-larval survival rate in natural spawning compared to induced spawing 12. Monthly rematuration of cage-reared broodstock during 5-6 consecutive months 27.
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.
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.
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 high amount of evidence.
JUVENILES: WILD: mostly rocks (<10 cm), snags (>10 cm) 4 22, indurated sand 5, sandy habitats 22, but also rock reefs, soft sediments in estuaries 5, seagrasses 5 22, mangroves 4 23 22, coral reefs and seaweed beds 23, bivalve shelves 22, tree roots 4 22, aquatic macrophytes, artificial rock structures, under undercut banks or overhanging vegetation 4, or in pneumatophores of the mangrove Sonneratia griffithii and prop roots 31. FARM: featureless tanks 30, coastal net cages, and ponds 3 1. The use of shelters and size grading are important to prevent sibling cannibalism and to produce uniformly-sized fingerlings 1. Black net ribbons over cages and piled PVC pipes at the bottom of the cage as shelter for the fish 28. Cages covered with old or used nets, coconut fronds or nipa shingles to protect the stock from direct sunlight and predator birds 28. Light at night in cages and pens attracts zooplanktons 32. LAB: tanks with rocks or snags increased growth and weight compared to featureless tanks and tanks with plastic strings simulating seagrass 30.
ADULTS: WILD: reef habitat and deeper offshore waters 4. FARM: for details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1.
SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: for details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
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.
LARVAE: no data found yet.
JUVENILES: stressed by repeated handling 30.
ADULTS: no data found yet.
SPAWNERS: 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 unclear findings for minimal farming conditions. It is medium for high-standard farming conditions. Our conclusion is based on a low amount of evidence.
LARVAE: no data found yet.
JUVENILES: lordosis (3.8%) and brachyospondyliosis (1.1%) 11. 60 mg AMP (L-ascorbyl-2-monophosphate-Mg) per kg of dry diet is recommended, otherwise soft body (AMP-free diet) or kidney and liver degeneration and low hematocrite levels (AMP > 180 mg/kg of dry diet) 20.
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 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 3 36, 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)?
CATADROMOUS = migrating from fresh water into the sea to spawn
DOMESTICATION LEVEL 3 = entire life cycle closed in captivity with wild inputs 36
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
PELAGIC = living independent of bottom and shore of a body of water
SPAWNERS = adults during the spawning season; in farms: adults that are kept as broodstock
WILD = setting in the wild
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10 NOT FOUND
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