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Stock enhancement and conservation culture of sturgeons: problems and prospects

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Stock enhancement is the main source of Acipenser gueldenstaedtii and A. stellatus recruitment in the Sea of Azov, where up to 30 million juveniles have been released in recent years. The hatchery production strategy aimed solely to produce and release the largest possible number of juveniles, utilizing only the most mature broodfish of the spring spawning run. Although monitoring of age, mass and physiological conditions of the broodstock during the period of hatchery breeding did not show significant changes, the spawning run was dramatically shortened from several months to just 15 days, and includes only fish with advanced gonadal maturity. Conservation of the Azov Sea species and their unique spawning ecotypes is currently supported by the Federal Living Gene Bank, which maintains over 9000 adults of eight endangered species. This paper summarizes the results of comparative analysis of biological characteristics such as growth, age of the first sexual maturation, relative fecundity, and morphological and physiological indices in wild and cultured specimens of different species and intraspecific groups of sturgeons. We conclude that there is a need for developing better hatchery technologies to maintain diversity of the stocks, through breeding protocols that maximize the genetic diversity of offspring based on evaluation of parentage and relatedness in farmed stocks by microsatellite loci.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Federal Centre for Genetics and Selection in Aquaculture, 12 Oktyabrskaya Str, Krasnodar 350063, Russia

Publication date: December 1, 2004


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