Suitable for Domestication?

Home Forums Due September 24 by 11:59pm Suitable for Domestication?

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    In the second section of “Four Fish” Greenberg introduces Galton’s idea of criteria for deciding if a species would be good for domestication. I previously had not thought about the fact that people in fact choose and have chosen certain animals to domesticate. I do like Galton’s ideas however.

    The first thing Galton identifies as a criteria for domesticating animals is the hardiness of the animal. Greenberg then goes on to explain how Sea Bass seem an odd fit for this criteria due to the vulnerability of their eggs. The eggs are very sensitive to their environment and of over a million eggs only ‘one or two become viable adults’. Additionally, Sea Bass struggle with stresses of a changing environment in captivity as well as simply the stresses of captivity itself. This contrasts with Atlantic Salmon in which their eggs are very hardy and the fish when hatched carry around a nutrient sack to supply them with food and allows a higher percentage of them to survive.

    The second criteria for domestication is the animal should have ‘an inborn liking for man’. As Greenberg states it is difficult to gauge a fishes’ supposed liking for man as it doesn’t directly interact with man the way in which a horse or cow would. So, I think this criteria is rendered irrelevant when thinking of animals from the water.

    Galton’s third criteria is that they should be ‘comfort loving’. Sea bass are perciforms and typically they do not thrive in containment situations. They respond to easily available food but become stressed and distant in confinement. This is similarly to Atlantic salmon in the way that the salmon also try to resist captivity when placed there from the wild.

    The fourth criteria is that they should breed freely. Sea Bass, being perciforms often shut down reproductive systems in captivity. This is similar to salmon in the way that salmon have a very specific breeding cycle and have difficulty reproducing in captive environments.

    Finally, the fifth of Galton’s criteria is that the animal should be ‘easy to tend’. This is not the case for either sea bass or for salmon. Though extensive care is required in different areas of the species’ lives, both are difficult to care for.

    So, to answer the question of if I think either of these species are good candidates for aquaculture, I would conclude no. Sea Bass pose more issues with ease of aquaculture than salmon do but I think it comes down to the idea of farming fish in general. Most fishes would have similar issues with domestication as those described for Sea Bass and Atlantic Salmon that make it very difficult and seemingly unsuitable. Although there is many challenges with domesticating fishes, people have chosen to aquaculture, and of all fishes Sea Bass and Atlantic Salmon as their fish.

    Ron Sheldon

    Very well thought out response. I like how you detailed each species strenths and weaknesses as comparitive. I also wish we had been provided with a little more information. With a little research it is quite evident that both species respond fairly well to aquaculture after the kinks have been worked out. Salmon in particular are very easy to culture. We even let school kids do it in their classromms with fairly high success rates. Additionally, there are accounts of aquaculture in Sea Bass reaching 95% survival. Even though they didn’t meet the criteria it seems that where there is a will there is a way. I still won’t let my friends eat that crap though…

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by Ron Sheldon.

    I don’t believe that no fish can effectively fit into the criteria set by Galton. We have no way of know just how they think of us and many of them are sensitive to specific environmental ques that it would make it very hard to raise them, such as temperature and mating season.


    I think you make an interesting point about animals from the water and an “inborn liking for men.” We definitely don’t live in water so water animals see a lot less of us than terrestrial animals do. It does make me think about how much intelligence factors in to this specific criterion. For instance, I think dolphins like humans, I believe they just see us and we’re entertaining to them. Not that I think they are a good species for domestication or anything, but it does make me wonder if some smarter aquatic animals would have an “inborn liking for men.”

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Fish and Fisheries in a Changing World