Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page



A.I. Kuzema
Ukrainian Fisheries Research Institute
Kiev, U.S.S.R.


The common carp (Cyprinus carpio) was first used for pond breeding about six centuries ago. Since then the pond-cultivated carp has been artificially maintained by man and its existence has been dependent on artificial environmental conditions. Man has thus been responsible for the transition of carp from the wild to the domesticated condition. Though many other commercial fish are cultivated in ponds. it is only the carp that has been subjected to planned artificial selection directed at the perfection of its commercial characteristics and adaptability to life in ponds.

As a result of artificial selection of the cultivated carp, a number of independent breeds enjoying wide popularity were reared in some of the West European countries, such as Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary and Poland. Some of those breeds, such as Bohemian carp, Aischgrund carp, Nasitsk and Galician mirror carp have changed their morphological peculiarities to such an extent as to be no longer identical with their wild parent, the common carp. The scaled Lauza carp, different from the common carp in growth rate and certain other physiological characters, has nevertheless retained its ancestor's scaled integument.

By changing the environment and applying selection to the common carp, man has domesticated it. By studying the morphological characteristics of common carp and cultivated carp breeds by means of physiological analysis and archeology, it was established that all the European breeds of carp originated from the European common carp.

The origin of the Ukrainian breeds of carp is also associated with the European common carp. The Ukrainian carp breeds were first established at the Antonisk State Nursery Fish Farm (currently known as the fish farms Zozulintsy and Antoniny, Kolmelnitsk area). The water basins Starokonstantinovsky, Chernylevka, Kuzmin (200, 400 and 800 hectares respectively), formerly part of the Antoninsk Fish Reserve, served as the environment for many generations of the Ukrainian carp's ancesters. The ponds have been in existence since the 15th century. The development of pond fish rearing was promoted by the favourable topography of the land, a considerable amount of rainfall and the geological conditions of the area. The contributors to the Ukrainian breeds were the local breed of carp which were cultivated in ponds for a long time and donated to the Antoninsk Reserve, and the mirror carp which was reared in Galicia and introduced into the ponds in the 19th century. As a result of ramdom crossing and natural selection under semi-wild conditions, there appeared a population of the Antoninsk carp. This population later served as initial broodstock for the breeding of the Ukrainian carp.

Both domestic breeds, the Ukrainian scaled carp and the Ukrainian frame carp, were reared and brought up to commercial standards by the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Commercial Fishing in co-operation with Kohmelnitsk, Vinnitsa, Kiev and Donetsk fish farms under the Ukrainian Department for Commercial Fishing.


In the pre-war years (until 1941) the basic breeding stations for the Ukrainian carp were the Antoninsk fish farm and the Ukrainian Station for fish breeding and selection. In the post war years (1947–1962) the breeding centres were the fish farm Vishnja of the Vinnitsa Fish Trust and the state fish-breeding centre in Belotserkovsk. Since 1964 the basic reproduction centre for Ukrainian carp breeding has been the Donetsk fishery. The Donetsk fishery, being an advanced farm with high output per hectare, is carrying out considerable work aimed at pedigree carp breeding. At that farm the most advanced selection techniques are used, such as offspring control by quality control of parents, line breeding, etc. The Donetsk fishery is engaged in mass reproduction of the Ukrainian scaled and frame carp.

Within only four years (1964–1967) it supplied over 3 000 pairs of parents to other fish farms in the Ukrainian SSR, Byelorussian SSR, Russian SFSR, Lithuanian SSR, Latvian SSR, Moldavian SSR, Kirgiz SSR, Kazakh SSR, Karakalpak Autonomous SSR and Dagestan ASSR. Considerable effective work aimed at the increase of the Ukrainian carp stock and its distribution was carried out by the Red Army Collective Farms (Settlement Zelenoe, Chmelnitsk); Novaja Zhissy; Gorodetskoe; Cherkassk and some others.

During 1962–1965 the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute selected and distributed over 1 000 pairs of mature productivity-checked parents to other fish farms. The Red Army Collective Farm supplied 100 pairs of parents of both breeds to the Romanian Peoples' Republic and 139 pairs to the Tselinograd area.

In the post war years, the Ukrainian breeds of carp were recognized as domestic breeds. The USSR Government awarded state prizes to the team of selectionists for the rearing of the breeds and passed a number of resolutions recommending further broodstock development.

The war with Germany caused great damage to carp rearing. In the majority of European countries, the broodstocks of carp cultivated in man-made ponds were exterminated. The Aischgrund carp was almost completely eliminated. The Bohemian carp was in a condition of degeneration due to a prolonged, unilateral, artificial selection. At present, carp of this breed has low viability, reduced fertility and slow growth rate. The re-establishment of the cultivated carp in the post war period was carried out by random crossings of unknown hybrids that could still be found in non-drained water basins. With the government's encouragement, the pond fish breeders in U.S.S.R. succeeded in completely restoring the stocks of the Ukrainian scaled carp and frame carp, which were reared in the pre-war period only in the eastern regions of the Ukraine. New broodstock have since been supplied to the western parts of the Ukraine. At present the majority of state fish farms and collective fish farms of the Ukraine and other republics are well stocked with the Ukrainian breeds of carp.

The broodstock of these breeds amounts to over 5 000 pairs of mature spawners and tens of thousands of young fishes for stocking. In the regions of the Ukrainian Republic where pond fish breeding is most advanced, ten stations have been established for mass reproduction of Ukrainian scaled and frame carps. The methodological supervision of carp breeding at these stations is exercised by the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Commercial Fishing. The Ukrainian scaled and frame carps were established as individual domestic breeds in the first half of the current century (1922–1953) in the fish farms of the Khmelnitsk and Vinnitsa regions, and commercial breeding was carried out in the second half of the 20th century (1959–1967) in the ponds of the Cherkassk, Kiev and Donetsk regions.


The principal objective of carp breeding is to obtain high individual standard output and maximum fresh fish per hectare of pond. The parent and offspring are the basic tests of both reproduction and production in a pond farm.

As a result of prolonged artificial selection, the pond cultivated carp has more substantial development of the back musculature of the body than the common carp, its predecessor. Some breeds of carp tend to resemble a plate. Many breeds of carp, such as Bohemian and Aischgrund, as well as the Galician mirror and the Ukrainian frame carps, do not have a completely scaled integument, and in exterior appearance differ greatly from the common carp. The man-reared breeds of carp have a higher variability in certain exterior features than the common carp. It has taken man centuries to obtain the various breeds of carp.

As a result of prolonged artificial selection, the Ukrainian carp is now characterized by a higher growth rate and better individual weight properties as compared to the common carp. When given artificial feed, it requires less feed per unit of weight gain. In 1954–1956, both breeds (scaled and frame) were tested for commercial value by the Belotserkov State Fish Breed-testing centre. The control was an old Russian breed of carp that used to be very popular in Russia and countries of western Europe and known as the Galician mirror (or king) carp. This carp was obtained for the test centre from the Revolution fish farm in the Varonesh region.

The breed test showed that the Ukrainian scaled carp, as compared to the Galician mirror carp at the age of two, has certain commercial advantages:

  1. A higher (17 percent) average weight of commercial (two-year-old) fish.

  2. A higher viability (24 percent).

  3. A more effective use of the environmental conditions offered by the pond (46 percent). The Ukrainian scaled carp tends to develop considerable connective tissue and muscle hypertrophy which results in its constitution being fleshy.

The breed test of the frame carp as compared to the Galician mirror carp, which was also carried out at the Belotserkov State Fish Breed-testing Centre, showed that two-year-old frame carp has the following commercial advantages:

  1. A higher weight (15 percent) of the commercial two-year-olds.

  2. A higher viability (11 percent).

  3. A more efficient use of artificial feed. The feed consumption of the two-year-olds is 21 percent less than that of the control mirror carp.

  4. A higher (25 percent) fish output per hectare.

The mass distribution of the Ukrainian carp to the north and south of the Ukrainian, Moldavian and Byelorussian republics, to the south and north of the Russian SFS Republic, to the Baltic republics (Latvian and Lithuanian) to the Middle Asia republics (Kazakh, Kirgiz SSR, Karakalpac ASSR) to the Caucasus (Dagestan ASSR), as well as Romania, has widened the ecological distribution of both the breeds. Under the influence of artificial selection in new ecological conditions, the Ukrainian scaled and frame carp have become polyzonal breeds.

The success of the Ukrainian scaled and frame carp breeds was the result of prolonged dedicated work done by the fish breeders of the various state and collective livestock breeding farms. Populating large ponds with the Ukrainian carp and adopting intensification measures made it possible to obtain 1 000–3 000 kg of carp per hectare (as was shown by N. Novikov, Potapenko, Narizhny in the Donetsk fish packing plant).

Selection has considerably improved the heredity of the original population, eliminating a number of defects and increasing the useful traits of weight and flesh characteristics of the Ukrainian carp. At the outset of the selection programme the stocks of the Antoninsk carp had a shabby, lean constitution. The improvement of ecological conditions in rearing the fingerlings by implementing a number of intensification and melioration measures, a continuous selection and recombination resulted in certain changes in constitution, such as the shortening of the body and increasing its depth. There was a shortening of the maturing period and an increase in body weight. The characteristics acquired in artificial selection are passed on to the offspring. The mirror (hypermorphinised) scale of the Ukrainian frame carp (frame-like, round the entire body) is the exterior characteristic of the breed. Another characteristic feature is the plate-like shape. The type of the scaled integument of the Ukrainian frame carp bears no resemblance to that of its predecessor.


Unlike other breeds, the Ukrainian scaled and frame carp breeds have a certain structural composition. Each breed has seven varieties (Antoninsk, Saltanovsk, Belotserkovsk, Lubensk, Neswich, Nivchan, Donetsk) as well as ten station lines. The composition of the Ukrainian breeds is not constant; it is progressive. From time to time new and more perfect lines are introduced, as well as broodstock perfected by a number of selection measures and reared at isolated reproduction stations. At present the structural composition of the Ukrainian breeds is made up of a considerable number of genealogical groups, ecological varieties and lines, quite sufficient for carrying out selection and recombination inside the breeds and for ensuring their further perfection.

In state and collective fish farms of the Khmelnitsk and Vinnitsa regions, carp are reared from the original genealogical groups - the Zozulensk variety YK3-26 and the Antoninsk variety YKA-29, formed as a result of the disintegration of the original population. In the collective fish farms of the Zhitomir, Chernigov, Khrakov, Sumy and other regions, the Saltanovsk variety YKC-37 is reared. The Belotserkovsk variety YK-47 is reared in the pond fish farms of the Kiev, Kirovograd and Zaporozhje regions. In the collective farms of the Volochisk district, Khmelnitsk region, Umansk district, and Cherkass region, two lines of each breed of carp are cultivated, and these are reared at Belotserkovsy State Fish Breed Testing Centre (Kiev region). In the fish farms Bolshevtsy, Ivan Frank region, Manevichi (Volynsk), Polesje (Rovno), Berezhany (Ternopol), and Rudniki (Lvov), the Nesvich variety is reared (YKH-52).

The Zuben variety YK-51 is reared at the Luben Veliky fish farm. The experimental farm Nivka of the Kiev region rears the Nivchansk variety YKH-57, besides two reserves of broodstock of varieties YKH-59 and YKH-67. The former variety YKH-59 was obtained by crossing the Ukrainian scaled forms with Ropsha stock, and the latter variety by crossing the Nivchansk and Donetsk carps. The Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolaev, and Zaporozhje regions rear the Donetsk variety, YK-62. At the Donetsk fish packing plant, eight local lines were reared (4 lines of each breed).

In the experimental farm “Nivka” (Kiev) and also at the Belotserkovksy State Fish Breed Testing Centre a stock of carp and crucian carp hybrids (K-30) was reared after a series of intergeneric and interspecific crossings. These hybrids of carp and crucian carp constitute a valuable reserve for carp selection. The fertile hybrid forms will be used for improving the variation flexibility of the stock under selection, for improving the constitution, for improving resistance to disease and for rearing a new breed of carp. In a number of fish farms of the Ukrainian SSR, such as Nivka, Bolshevtsy, Khovtnevo, and the Belotserkovsky State Fish Breed Testing Center, breeding stocks of the Ropsha carp are reproduced and selected. The Ropsha carp (PK-4) is the result of the selection work of V.S. Kirpichnikov. The spawns of this breed of carp are used for freshening the Ukrainian breeds and for increasing its productivity by means of heterosis.

Each of the above mentioned varieties is maintained in a livestock reserve or in several reserves, located in different fish farms. The livestock reserves are subjected to intensive selection study, aimed at the consolidation of a more stable heredity of the advantages that may seem of interest for artificial selection. Each stock is subjected to artificial and natural selection and is adapted to natural maintenance conditions. The introduction of new elements into the Ukrainian carp composition (the introduction of new breeding stock) is effected by crossing the best Ukrainian brooders with other breeds.

Previous Page Top of Page Next Page