Research Report

Farmed fish welfare practices: salmon farming as a case study



Rey S, Little DC & Ellis M (2019) Farmed fish welfare practices: salmon farming as a case study. Global Aquaculture Alliance. Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Approximately 180 million salmonids (salmon and trout) eggs are produced each year in the UK making fish farming the largest livestock sector after broiler production (FAWC 2014). Fish farming is predicted to grow exponentially for the next 10 years and is projected to supply over 60 per cent of the global demand for fish for human consumption by 2030 (FAO 2018). There are still burning issues related to the welfare of farmed fish that have to be solved, not only for the benefit of the farmed fish, but also because good welfare throughout the life cycle should result in improved productivity and economic returns for farmers. Welfare is also important during transport, harvest and slaughter and it will impact on product quality (fish appearance and fillet quality). The main objective of this overview is to review the state of the art of current farmed fish welfare practices, focusing on salmon farming as a model species. Cage farming of Atlantic salmon has been the focus of most welfare measures and practices implemented to date. By reviewing the current salmon welfare state of the art and the Operational Welfare Indicators (OWI) used in salmon farming we can identify areas of potential relevance for other farmed species (e.g. tilapia and catfish) as well as their role in best management practices (BMP). This review aims to inform discussion of how enhanced welfare practices could be adopted by the sector through better understanding of the key issues by those involved and/or incorporation into BAP standards. It will support identification of problems to be addressed and opportunities to be assessed in the near future and outline how better monitoring and precision fish farming (PFF) could be implemented to improve fish welfare into the future.

Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online26/05/2020
Publisher URL…_26_May_2020.pdf

People (3)


Dr Maureen Ellis

Dr Maureen Ellis

Research Fellow, Institute of Aquaculture

Professor Dave Little

Professor Dave Little

Professor, Institute of Aquaculture

Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Dr Sonia Rey Planellas

Associate Professor, Institute of Aquaculture


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