Executive summary

The welfare of farmed fish is a topic that is gaining exponential attention in research, public awareness, production and policy, since the impacts on the animals are reflected the whole sector. To address it correctly it is important to define the terms: welfare is the state of the animal as it copes with its environment. This definition enables the measurement of welfare through different indicators, which in turn allow the testing, validation and implementation of measures to improve the welfare and production of farmed fishes. The focus of this report is on the behavioural indicators of welfare, which represent the state of the animal very accurately.

This study from October 2022 was prepared by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Europe Ltd for the Aquaculture Advisory Council.

This study from October 2021 was prepared by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Europe Ltd for the Aquaculture Advisory Council.

This study from October 2020 was prepared by Marine Atlas Consultants Ltd for the Aquaculture Advisory Council.

This study from October 2019 was prepared by Marine Atlas Consultants Ltd for the Aquaculture Advisory Council.

Executive summary

As global aquaculture grows, and exceeds the production output of fisheries, ensuring the welfare of fishes at slaughter is paramount. In the European Union (EU), legislation protects fishes at slaughter based on a general principle of avoiding suffering. However, the European Commission have stated that a thorough assessment of farmed fish slaughter will be conducted, with a view to introducing more specific rules to the slaughter regulation to protect fishes.