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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Experimental Station of Saint-Seurin-sur-l’Isle

The experimental station at Saint-Seurin-sur-l'Isle is a support structure for research on the functioning and restoration of migratory amphihaline fish populations.

The European sturgeon Acipenser sturio was the first species studied, with the help of a farmed sturgeon used as a biological model, the Siberian sturgeon Acipenser baerii. The research conducted on the latter species has also led to the development of a specific production chain for farmed sturgeon and then farmed caviar, which is likely to facilitate the transfer of demand for these products from the highly endangered stocks of sturgeon of different species in the wild to aquaculture production.


Faced with the collapse of the European sturgeon population observed in the 1960s, which continued despite the total protection of the species in 1982, it appeared that only the control of the artificial reproduction of this species, based on the accidental capture of spawners, could allow a restoration of the wild population. The scarcity of reported catches led, starting in the 1990s, to the acclimatization of juveniles to allow the obtaining of broodstock in the spawning station, despite the difficulty and duration of this rearing phase, thanks to the facilities of the station.


However, in 1995, this station allowed, thanks to the simultaneous capture of 2 spawners, the realization of a first production of 23,000 European sturgeon larvae by artificial reproduction, which allowed a first experimental rearing and the strengthening of the acclimatized stock. Since 2007, the station has controlled the artificial reproduction of the species from wild individuals and then from individuals raised in captivity. In total, more than 1.5 million young sturgeon have been released into the natural environment, allowing the repopulation of the rivers of Western Europe and a better knowledge of the species by monitoring the released specimens.

Since the 2000s, the Saint-Seurin station has taken on a true "multi-migratory" vocation, allowing the development of research on other species of migratory fish, on more or less long phases of their cycle and in support of observations conducted in the natural environment:   

  • European eel Anguilla anguilla with research on migratory behavior, tagging, ageing and life history techniques, spatial distribution dynamics, silvering stages and the quality of future spawners;
  • American shad Alosa shad with research on artificial reproduction of the species and larval rearing, habitat preferences and marking of juveniles, ageing and environmental changes;
  • Sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus and fluvial Lampetra fluviatilis with research on larval habitat preferences and specific differentiation criteria.

The development of the station currently continues by associating new scientific partners with the reinforcement and sophistication of the equipment, allowing a better control of the observation, environmental and breeding conditions. This gives it a new dimension, promoting it as one of the major facilities for experimental research on migratory amphihaline fish at the European and international levels.
The station has a cryobank of European sturgeon seeds. This allows:


 - to preserve the wild strain, the long-term genetics of endangered species ;
 - to optimize crossbreeding during reproduction;
 - to distribute sexual products more easily.


The research station in a few words

  • The station is approved for animal experimentation under N° B33-478-001.
  • Since 1996, the station has been part of the GDSAA "Groupement de Défense Sanitaire Aquacole d'Aquitaine".
  • Adherent to the AquaREA® Charter created under the impetus of the GDSAA, and on the basis of the AREA program (Agriculture Respectful of the Environment in Aquitaine) of the Aquitaine Regional Council.
  • It has a capacity on site.
  • All the staff has an authorization for experimentation.

Technical resources

Structures dedicated to breeding (A. sturio)

Building sturio 1 (closed-circuit devices):

  • 5 basins dedicated to reproductions
  • 4 magnification basins (total volume 80 m3)
  • 1 infirmary

Building sturio 2 (closed-circuit devices):

  • 11 basins (total volume 330 m3) dedicated to the conservation of broodstock and immatures

Halle Alosa (pre-fattening and grow-out in river water):

  • 20 basins from 2 to 6 m in diameter
  • Structures dedicated to experiments

Halle Anguilla:

  • 3 experimentation rooms
  • 1 prey production area
  • 1 surgery room
  • 1 quarantine room

Palaemon building:

  • 3 speed rings (scola devices)
  • 1 technical room for the control of the automatons

Halle Lampetra:

  • 9 basins for river water experiments

Liza building:

  • 1 hatchery equipped with incubators and troughs for larval rearing and tanks with a diameter of 2 m
  • 2 automated breeding systems
  • 2 laboratories equipped with measurement equipment

Halle Salmo:

  • 3 artificial rivers
  • 1 raceway for natural prey production
  • 8 concrete raceways for the conservation of biological models



SCOLA ("Structure expérimentale d'étude du COmportement LArvaire")

Experimental structure for the study of the larvary Bearing

Thanks to this structure, studies are carried out on the young stages of migratory fish: eels, shad, sturgeon...
A new generation of the experimental structure SCOLA is being developed to improve the understanding of the processes of dispersion and sedentarization of these young stages.




Water supply

The supply is ensured by:

  • River water (1000 m3/h) - T°C: from 5 to 26°C
  • Deep water pumping (200 m3/h) at 18°C
  • Sea water storage (90 m3)

Station map



Station d'expérimentation Saint-Seurin-sur-l'Isle
Moulin de la logerie 
33, rue Alfred de Vigny
33660 Saint-Seurin-sur-l'Isle
Tél : (+33) 05 57 49 67 59
Fax : (+33) 05 57 49 66 01

Station manager:
Patrick CHEVRE

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