Welfare standards in the aquaculture industry

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Our goal is to raise welfare standards in the aquaculture industry with regard primarily to the following five areas:

  1. Water quality
  2. Feed
  3. Health / use of medicines
  4. Transportation and handling
  5. Stunning and slaughter

Research work

Based on continuous evaluation of aquaculture welfare related scientific publications, we have specified details for these five welfare aspects and already harmonized them with other scientific welfare projects, e.g. with the German plans for Fish Welfare Monitoring in Aquaculture. Now we are translating each scientific aspect into an easy-to-understand protocol.

Contacts with stakeholders

In Germany, the challenge is to raise the relatively high standards (compared to other countries). In the EU and beyond, we want to help raise standards to German levels in order to then in turn implement further improvements in Germany. This is how we plan to initiate a steady increase in international standards. To accomplish this, we are working with Germany’s biggest retailers to define minimum standards. So far, our initiative covers more than 80 % of the German retail market volume.

Our project manager has also established extensive contacts with researchers as well as producers and official bodies in Germany in order to ensure that all stakeholders work toward a common goal. German producers have a special interest here because raising animal welfare standards abroad can help to compensate for cost disadvantages in Germany.

Conferences and workshops

We have already networked and given presentations at a number of specialist conferences and held workshops with producers on the subject of animal welfare in the aquaculture industry. For example, our project manager has not only attended the leading trade fair »Fish International« in Bremen, the 4th Fish Industry Summit in Hamburg, an event organized by the Thünen Institute and visited the Society for Marine Aquaculture in Büsum, but he has also been invited directly by producers as a speaker and/or workshop leader.

Our team has been present at the Aquaculture International 2019 fair & conference in Berlin with a booth and conference contributions, as well as at the Fish International 2020 fair in Bremen with a stakeholder workshop. Due to pandemia restrictions, all further conferences had been cancelled. In November 2020, we presented our activities at the Aquatic Animal Welfare Conference 2020.

Cooperation with international organizations

Last but not least, we share information and findings with other NGOs who are also working on the topic of fish welfare. Due to the pandemia restrictions, this work mainly happens online.

Status quo

Although our work is still in relatively early stages and no lives have been affected yet, we have put in place the relevant structures to have quite a bit of impact in the future. We are very pleased with our intermediate outcome of acquiring key partners. The biggest supermarket chains in Germany have committed to improving fish welfare.

Over time, we expect reduced suffering and fewer fishes to be raised and killed because the necessary measures will generate costs, in turn leading to higher prices.

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