Paddlefish, Polyodon spathula: historical, current status and future aquaculture prospects in Russia.
In the wild, overfishing, habitat loss, industrial and agriculture activity has led to the degradation of freshwater habitats and, therefore, dramatically declines the Mississippi paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) stocks (Stone 2007). Paddlefish gain a growing commercial interest in the USSR/Russian Federation due to its ability to produce high-quality caviar. Also, it can be reared in polyculture ponds and a wide range of temperate reservoirs. Therefore, aquaculture of these valuable fish is necessary to meet consumer demand in Eastern European markets with flesh and caviar. Published information about the culture of paddlefish in the USSR/Russian Federation is scarce and not permanently available. Regarding our study, data were collected from English reports and translated Russian official statistics and studies. Also, FAO fisheries data from 1880 up to 2010 for paddlefish were included. Moreover, caviar production data and prices were surveyed from companies. The collected data could briefly represent the historical and current status of paddlefish aquaculture and provide insight into the expected future production in the Russian Federation. Besides, it investigates the drawbacks of paddlefish aquaculture development and the potential challenges in Russian territories. Also, it discusses potential impacts related to the preservation of the breeding stocks, population naturalization and invasiveness of the species in the southern parts of Russia (i.e., in the Volga-Caspian basin): Saratov, Rostov, Astrakhan Oblast and Krasnodar regions. Furthermore, this review aimed to gather the available data and the latest final findings that may address the welfare of paddlefish data to fill the knowledge gap towards improving the management of this species. In addition, future development prospects can be supported by government oversight through accurate accounting and financing for private farm activity.