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Fish sperm competition in hatcheries and between wild and hatchery origin fish in nature

Beirão, José, Egeland, Torvald B., Purchase, Craig F., Nordeide, Jarle T.
Theriogenology 2019 v.133 pp. 201-209
adults, aquaculture, breeding stock, captive animals, eggs, females, fish communities, genetic variation, hatcheries, males, polyandry, progeny, semen, spawning, sperm competition, sperm motility, spermatozoa, tanks, wild fish
Males compete pre- and post-mating to fertilize the maximum number of eggs. In polyandry, sperm competition occurs when sperm from two or more males compete to fertilize eggs from a female. Here we review how sperm competition from hatchery origin fish can cause loss of genetic variability in fish populations kept in captivity and in wild populations. In fish hatchery practices, sperm competition occurs in mass spawners that release gametes in tanks, and in artificial fertilizations when pooled semen is used. In mass spawnings sperm competition is difficult to tease apart from pre-mating competition and other post-mating selective mechanisms, whereas, studies focused on the use of pooled semen in different fish species have shown a clear relationship between sperm motility parameters and precedence in fertilization. In both situations, sperm competition will result in a loss of genetic variability that accumulates over generations, but hatchery protocols can be adjusted to mitigate it. Another source of concern regarding sperm competition for hatchery produced fish is the spatial and temporal overlap in spawning with wild individuals, either via aquaculture escapees or purposeful stocking programs. This may result in sperm competition between hatchery origin and wild males and impact natural populations. Our review suggests that in order to give every adult selected as broodstock an equal opportunity to produce offspring in captivity, mass spawning and the use of pooled semen should be limited.