Study into fish welfare aims to boost profits – Fishupdate.com

Study into fish welfare aims to boost profits Published:  14 December, 2007

Scientists will develop a model to assess what effects changes in conditions for farmed fish have

A EUROPEAN collaboration, focusing on fish welfare, is aiming to provide data that will boost the profitability of the aquaculture industry

A group of scientists from six European countries will develop models that will provide answers about the relationships and consequences, if the regulating framework for fish welfare changes. With four selected indicators – mortality, fin damages, deviation in feed intake and changes in CO2 – as a starting point, the group will look at biological factors which influence the fish, the company’s economy, product quality and the consumer’s perception of the product.

Fiskeriforskning will lead the sub-projects, “fin damages” and “CO2” in the three-year European project called BENEFISH.

Scientists from three different disciplines – biology, social science and economics – will jointly develop a model to assess what effects changes in conditions for farmed fish have, both economical and

social.

“The group will study what the costs will be, measured against the benefits for the fish, fish farmer and consumer,” says Senior Scientist Børge Damsgård, who is heading the project at Fiskeriforskning.

“We believe the best measures to improve the welfare of farmed fish are when we can show the benefits are greater than the costs,” continues Mr Damsgård.

The scientists will study if fin damages can indicate something about fish welfare. There are many reasons for fin damages, including water quality and social interactions between the fish.

“By reducing the reasons for fin damages, increased growth and improved health will have an influence on the fish farmer’s economy,” explains Mr Damsgård.

“Consumers will also perceive the fish as a more ethically handled product and the quality will be better.”

The project, which started in February 2007, has nine collaboration partners. The main project is headed by Sunil Kadri at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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