A detailed examination of welfare issues for fish raised in aquaculture
With the continued growth of the aquaculture industry and increasing scientiﬁc discussion over the potential for negative events to give rise to suffering, research into the welfare of cultured ﬁsh is vital. How we deﬁne and measure welfare is cause for debate, particularly in ﬁsh. Both behavioural and physiological measures of welfare are necessary for correct interpretation and while there is a wealth of knowledge on the physiological consequences of many aquaculture practices it is now equally important for us to understand the behavioural responses to these practices and to relate them to ﬁsh welfare.
Stocking density, diet, feeding technique, and management procedures all have strong effects on stress responses, subsequent stress tolerance, health, and the occurrence of aggressive behaviour. Strategies to reduce disease susceptibility, minimise stress responses, and avoid aggression are, therefore, vital.
Collectively this growing area of research serves to improve our knowledge of the impacts of aquaculture and intensive farming procedures on ﬁsh welfare and is the ﬁrst step in improving welfare wherever possible.