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Fish welfare: Current issues in aquaculture

An examination of the various animal welfare issues for fish raised in aqauculture farms.


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.