FAO Fisheries Department

Sturgeon hatchery practices and management for release. Guidelines



Sturgeon hatcheries play an important role in the rehabilitation of the sturgeon stocks in the

Caspian Sea and elsewhere. Since the demise of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in

1991, a large part of the experience, expertise and specifi c knowledge on sturgeon hatchery

practices and management in the Caspian Sea Basin has disappeared, while research and

knowledge on sturgeon and hatchery practices in other regions have advanced rapidly in the

last few decades.

Sturgeon restocking practices that resulted in limited success have caused a critical

reassessment of the entire culture process, the strategies applied for conservation culture, the

design of rehabilitation programmes, the design of hatcheries and the mode of their operation.

This technical paper aims to increase global awareness and to guide and build capacity about

the best practices currently available by providing senior and mid-level sturgeon hatchery staff

with a practical tool for modern sturgeon hatchery practices and management. The technical

technical guidelines it contains focus on hatchery practices that are aimed at reproduction and

growth of fry and fi ngerlings for restocking objectives.

The technical guidelines address a wide range of issues, including: hatchery design and

location; collection and transportation of wild broodstock; selection and maintenance of

broodstock; tagging of sturgeon; water quality and supply; feeding and feed quality; selection

of broodstock for controlled reproduction; spawning and gamete processing; rearing of larvae

and juveniles in tanks; rearing of juveniles in ponds; release of fi ngerlings; sanitary and hygiene

measures; hatchery documentation; hatchery maintenance and repair; staff and labour issues;

monitoring and research; social and environmental responsibility; international regulations

and conventions on sturgeons; and implementation and updating of these technical guidelines.

This technical paper provides specifi c technical guidelines, justifi cations for these

technical guidelines and suggestions to support their implementation. The guidance provided

is based on the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995) and contributes to

the implementation of the Ramsar Declaration on Global Sturgeon Conservation (2006). As

such, the technical guidelines in this paper are part of the capacity-building and awarenessraising

efforts of the partners involved in their preparation in order to increase the success of

sturgeon hatchery practices for release purposes. These partners include: FAO; World Sturgeon

Conservation Society; International Union for Conservation of Nature; Caspian Environment

Programme; United Nations Development Programme; 6th International Symposium on

Sturgeon; World Bank; Institute of Hydroecology; and Central Asia and Caucasus Regional

Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission.