Sexing sturgeon

Sturgeon is critically endangered. Faced with this situation, aquaculture has emerged as the only solution to the depopulation of certain species such as Acipenser baerii or A. gueldenstaedtii.

Projet terminé

Project affiliated to:
Project leader Université de Toulon (PROTEE, EB2M)
Research partners Université de Toulon (PROTEE, EB2M)
Budget 400 K€
Cofinanceur publics ANR
Year of labeling 2008
Year of co-financing 2008

Although still not fully optimized, farming of the fish is well understood, and sturgeon fish farms are being developed all around the world for re-release into the environment. Of course, these farms can also produce the caviar needed to satisfy growing consumer demand: wild caviar is increasingly scarce and subject to strict quotas. The main technical problem, which has been identified by the farmers themselves, is the sexing of individuals. This stage, which occurs after 3 to 5 years depending on the species, allows the males to be separated from the females so that only the females will be preserved and farmed for a further 4 to 7 years for the production of caviar. It is currently necessary to farm all the individuals for at least 3 years and then eliminating half of them at the end of this period. This represents a significant loss of time and money, making the activity economically fragile. The project presented here aims to validate and ultimately commercialize a molecular technique for identifying the sex of sturgeon within a few weeks of life, thus enabling much earlier sexing of the fish.