Rey Planellas S (2017) HEALTH & WELFARE OF THE LUMPFISH (Cyclopterus lumpus) IN HATCHERY PRODUCTION AND DEPLOYED IN SCOTTISH SALMON CAGES FOR USE AS CLEANER FISH [Lumpfish welfare]. EAS aquaculture europe, Dubrovnik, 17.10.2017-20.10.2017.
Abstract This study focuses upon one of the species used for salmon delousing: the lumpfish or lumpsucker (Cyclopterus lumpus). Lumpfish are found distributed in the North Atlantic and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean and are now farmed in Scotland and other north European countries. Along with several species of wrasse, both are being deployed in salmon production cages to exploit their delousing behaviour and efficiency, and sometimes are even held together (Powell, 2017). Due to the increasing demand for cleaner fish, wild captures are not sufficient and the long-term sustainability of this practice is in doubt. Therefore, farming of this species is becoming an important industry-driven activity in parallel to salmon farming. However, mortality rates are still high for farmed cleaner fish in both hatcheries and sea cages with the main causes still unknown.
The overall aim of this study is to improve survival and welfare of lumpfish deployed in Scottish salmon farms through a detailed analysis of the challenges facing lumpfish, both in the hatchery and in sea cages. Current information is limited however, as yet no detailed long-term epidemiology project has been performed to assess disease impact from egg to termination, taking into account seasonal variation and varying management practices.
We present here first results on the hatchery face of the study, related to lumpfish-specific Operational Welfare Indicators (OWI) that will allow user-friendly assessment of the welfare status of lumpfish both in rearing production tanks and in cages. Here we present the results on the development of a condition index (CI) suitable for use in C. lumpus husbandry procedures. CI will aid in detection of the signs of ill health and poor welfare, allowing for correct application of treatments and alterations to husbandry procedures. We want to correlate CI with a Fin damage scoring index specifically developed for this species.