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The welfare of animals in the aquaculture industry

A detailed examination of the animal welfare issues in aquaculture.
Humane Society International


A detailed look into animal welfare issues in aquaculture. 

In the United States, approximately 1.3 billion fish are raised in off-shore and land-based aquaculture systems each year for food, making them the second-most commonly farmed animal domestically, following broiler chickens.

The majority of farmed fish are subject to overcrowded and restrictive conditions, which, if unchecked, can quickly deteriorate water quality, cause severe stress, and result in increased mortality. Aquaculture practices and production—including handling, grading, transport, genetic manipulation, aggression from conspecifics, predation, physiological stress, and inhumane slaughter—compromise the welfare of these animals.

The report covers the following issues:

  • US aquaculture industry overview
  • Pain perception & consciousness
  • The welfare of aquaculture animals
  • Stress response
  • Water & environmental quality
  • Stocking density
  • Diseases & parasites
  • Selective breeding, genetic selection & transgenics
  • Nutrition & feed
  • External impacts
  • Crowding, handling, netting & grading
  • Transport
  • Stunning & Slaughter