Version: B | 1.1 (2022-01-22)
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)
Osphronemus goramy of the family Osphronemidae is originally living in freshwater bodies of Southeast Asia. By now, it has been introduced into Europe, Australia, and India. Despite its slow growth and low fecundity, it is being assumed suitable for farming due to its air breathing, which makes it withstand low oxygen levels in ponds, and the possibility to thrive on a mostly plant-based diet. Farming has probably been done for hundreds of years and has increased in intensity, while the wild stocks have decreased. A main caveat in production is the large variation in reproduction partially assumed to be caused by unfavourable sex ratios, but non-invasive sexing might be one way of improvement.
For O. goramy to increase its FishEthoScore, more research is needed on the biology and on natural conditions of home range, depth, migration, reproduction, aggregation, aggression, substrate, as well as on water parameter requirements, stress, and stunning. High mortality in larvae and fry stage and decrease in reproduction in spawners might be reduced by moving hatcheries and broodstock facilities inside to protect them from sun and rain, predators, disease, and noise and to better control water parameters.
Note: Due to reaching maturity after the typical age and weight at slaughter, there is no age class "Adults" in the profile.
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.
JUVENILES: WILD and FARM: no data found yet.
SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: 300-500 m2 recommended 3, earthen ponds: 200-870 m2, higher fecundity in pools compartmentalised with nets into 8-20 m2 areas 1, 300-1,000 m2 4, 24-1,100 m2 in open or compartmentalised ponds 2, 525-570 m2 5.
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.
SPAWNERS: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: attached nest to bulrush 15-25 cm below water surface, ca 30 cm above bottom 8, farmers attached nest support to bamboo poles 15-20 cm below water surface 3 1 2, 1 m recommended 3, earthen ponds: 0.6 m 1, 0.5-1.5 m 4. LAB: earthen ponds: 1.5 m 9.
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.
LARVAE and FRY: WILD: 11-13 h PHOTOPERIOD, 26.8-30.6 °C 6 10 7, 19-23 °C during winter, 22.4-32 °C during summer 11, fresh water 6 11 12 7 13 14 15 16, brackish water 10. Further research needed on migration. FARM: earthen ponds: 11-13 h, 27.1-39.9 °C 2, fresh water 1 2. For details of holding systems ➝ crit. 1 and 2.
SPAWNERS: WILD: ➝ LARVAE. FARM: ➝ JUVENILES.
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?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.
WILD: no data found yet. FARM: brooders are kept in earthen spawning ponds for 3-6 months at a time for 2-3 egg production periods per year 2 5 (separated by sex in the intervening resting times 1 2) at male:female ratio of 1:1-1:4 3 1 2 5. Identification of sex in mature individuals by stripping in males (very difficult due to oligospermia) or cannulation in females, but also possible via secondary characters, especially in black phenotype (males with bulging forehead and lower jaw, females with black spot at pectoral peduncle) 5. Spontaneous spawning when provided with nest substrate (➝ crit. 7) 9 1 2.
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.
Eggs: WILD: no data found yet. FARM: 100 L glass aquaria: 4-5 eggs/cm2 1.
JUVENILES: WILD and 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?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 and FRY: FARM: no data found yet. LAB: no aggression, no cannibalism 17.
JUVENILES: FARM: 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: were found where there was also a moderate to abundant presence of duckweed (Lemna minor), knot grass (Polygonum barbatum), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes), water mimosa (Neptunia oleracea), oxygen weed (Hydrilla verticillata), giant salvinia (Salvinia molesta), common reed (Phragmites australis) 15. FARM: tanks or aquaria with water plants (Hydrilla, Ceratophyllum) for individuals to attach to or rest on 3, no protection from sun or rain, probably causing high mortality 2.
JUVENILES: WILD: ➝ LARVAE and FRY. FARM: of floating macrophytes, JUVENILES preferred Lemna minor as food, but Azolla filiculoides is also recommended for food, water remediation, high productivity, and low risk of non-productive cycles in small-scale fish farming 18.
SPAWNERS: WILD: ➝ LARVAE and FRY. FARM: earthen ponds with bulrush 8 or palm tree fibre for nest building 9 1 2 and baskets of braided bamboo strips on bamboo poles as nest support at 15-20 cm below water surface 3 1 2 at frequency of at least 1 nest/male 1. In ponds without nest support, dugged crevices (by farmer) in earthen pond banks were used 2. Nest building mainly by males, but also females 1. No protection from sun or rain, probably decreasing spawning frequency and causing diseases 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.
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.
Common slaughter method: stunning in chilled water, then bleeding and evisceration 4. High-standard slaughter method: no data found yet.
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?
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)?
WILD: herbivorous 21, omnivorous with vegetarian focus 18. FARM: for JUVENILES, fish meal and fish oil may be partly* replaced by plants 22 18, SPAWNERS were mainly fed with plants 2, but no data found yet on replacements for FRY.
*partly = <51% – mostly = 51-99% – completely = 100%
EURYHALINE = tolerant of a wide range of salinities
FARM = setting in farming environment or under conditions simulating farming environment in terms of size of facility or number of individuals
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
WILD = setting in the wild
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