Joelle Odin

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2015


A study was conducted at Healthy Earth’s Siberian Sturgeon (Acipenser baerii) farm in Sarasota, Florida to examine caviar harvest productivity in recent years. Productivity was quantified as a measure of a mature female’s caviar yield and ovarian waste at the time of harvest. Numerous farming practices, including the aspect of feeding, are known to affect reproductive physiology and oocyte development in mature female sturgeon. This study investigated how changes in commercial diet composition influenced egg and fat production in sturgeon ovaries. Two-thousand six-hundred and sixty-eight fish were sampled in this study. Samples were broken up by year of harvest, by harvest run, and also by diet treatment to identify and compare productivity trends. Mean caviar yields were significantly higher in 2013 than in 2014 and 2015. Mean ovarian waste was significantly reduced in 2015 from what it was in 2014 and 2013. Fish sampled that were on the Original diet performed significantly better at harvests than fish on the Intermediate (second and third) diets. No change in yield or waste was detected between fish on the second or third diet. Fish on the fourth diet performed relatively similarly to those on the Original diet. Fish harvested in 2015 had significantly improved caviar yields and reduced ovarian waste. Roughly half of the fish harvested in 2015 were on the fourth diet and half were on one of the Intermediate diets. While the fourth diet change could be responsible for the enhanced productivity of fish on the fourth diet, the productivity improvement in fish on the Intermediate diet cannot be attributed to a diet change. Considering these results, continued research is necessary to confirm dietary effects on egg production and ovarian waste accumulation.


Department: MES

MPS Track: MCO

Location: Healthy Earth Sarasota INC: Sarasota, FL

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