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Elevating the status of animal welfare in aquaculture

The aquaculture sector provides a major source of animal protein in many key parts of the world, particularly the Global South. Ensuring the welfare of the animals raised in those systems is crucial from both an ethical and a commonsense perspective since higher welfare conditions are closely related to healthier fish and lower mortality rates. As we strive for sustainability and more ethical and humane practices, let’s explore innovative ideas that have the potential to improve the lives of countless fish.

Ensuring optimal culture conditions through improved water quality monitoring systems  

Fish and other aquatic animals are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, and poor water quality can have devastating effects to their health and welfare. By implementing advanced monitoring systems that continuously assess key parameters such as dissolved oxygen levels, pH, temperature, and ammonia concentrations, fish farmers can promptly identify and address any issues that arise. Real-time monitoring enables immediate intervention, ensuring optimal conditions for the fish and minimising stress-induced health problems.

Re-designing or enhancing fish farm design for improved animal welfare

Traditional fish farm designs often fail to enable and promote the natural behaviour and well-being of the cultured animals. Conventional net pens and confining ponds limit the animals’ ability to exhibit natural swimming behaviours and can result in increased stress levels. Innovative farm design ideas such as larger tank sizes and spacious ponds have emerged as a solution to these challenges. These designs aim to simulate natural environments, allowing fish to swim more freely, reducing stress levels, and enhancing their overall welfare. One promising example of this is semi-closed containment systems.