Current issues in fish welfare

Human beings may affect the welfare of fish through fisheries, aquaculture and a number of other activities. There is no agreement on just how to weigh the concern for welfare of fish against the human interests involved, but ethical frameworks exist that suggest how this might be approached. Different definitions of animal welfare focus on […]

Comparative growth and survival of juvenile hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria, fed commercially available diets

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.20113.abs Hobbyist and researchers often use commercially available phytoplankton concentrates to maintain filter feeding organisms held in their ornamental or experimental tanks. This study investigated the nutritional value of 10 products available commercially for juvenile hard clams, Mercenaria mercenaria. Growth and mortality rates in clams fed these products were compared with those found in […]

Quantifying stress responses induced by different handling methods in three species of fish

Although interest in fish welfare is growing, little research has addressed the welfare of laboratory or ornamental fish. Our aim here was to evaluate the effects of handling fish with a scoop, where the fish remained submerged in water, compared to handling with a net. We investigated the effect of the scoop vs. a dip-net […]

Parasites, behaviour and welfare in fish

In this review, three reasons are identified as to why it is important to focus on the role of parasites and the diseases they cause to understand the interrelationships between behaviour and welfare in fish. First, many of the behaviours exhibited by fish – including their habitat selection, mate choice and shoaling decisions – are […]

Stress and the welfare of cultured fish

Cultured species of aquatic animals span more than five phyla. Animal welfare attention is directed towards the vertebrates because of the their neural complexity, and is currently focused on the finfish because of the size and visibility of that segment of the aquaculture industry. The characteristics of the aquatic environment and their impact on the […]

Fish behaviour and welfare


Behavioural responses to hypoxia provide a non-invasive method for distinguishing between stress coping styles in fish

Two divergent behavioural and physiological response patterns to challenges have been identified in mammals and birds, frequently termed the proactive and reactive coping styles. In recent years, individually distinct coping styles have also been observed in several species of fish. These individual differences may result in suboptimal production and compromised welfare in aquaculture. An approach […]

Effects of growth hormone transgenes on the behavior and welfare of aquacultured fishes: A review identifying research needs

Expression of a growth hormone (GH) transgene can achieve dramatic impacts upon the performance of aquaculture stocks, for example, increasing the growth rate of coho salmon 11-fold. With the prospect of improved production efficiency, some aquaculturists want to produce transgenic fish commercially. Commercialization of transgenic fish and shellfish, however, poses not only ecological, food safety, […]

Aquaculture and restocking: implications for conservation and welfare

As the harvesting of fish through commercial fisheries becomes both harder and less economically viable, the world is becoming increasingly dependent on aquaculture to provide fish for human consumption. The closely related activity of stock enhancement, whereby large numbers of fish are reared and then released, is a common practice aimed at increasing the numbers […]

Food anticipatory behaviour as an indicator of stress response and recovery in Atlantic salmon post-smolt after exposure to acute temperature fluctuation

In this study we evaluated Pavlovian conditioned food anticipatory behaviour as a potential indicator for stress in groups of Atlantic salmon, and compared this with the physiological stress responses of cortisol excretion into water and hyper-consumption of oxygen. We hypothesised that environmental stress would result in reduced feeding motivation. To assess this, we measured the […]