Research & Resources
Below is an overview of our research, as well as selected reports and papers that we find particularly helpful. Also included are resources for those interested in learning more about fish welfare and advocacy.
We welcome questions and feedback. To ask about our research, please contact us.
Shorter pieces can be found on our blog.
Fish Welfare is a topic gaining global recognition. While fish are at the center of this, the value of improving fish welfare extends far beyond the fish themselves. This report can help equip all stakeholders in fish welfare with the relevant knowledge to best address fish welfare.
The Philippines has the seventh-largest aquaculture production in the world. A 3-month scoping study was initiated by Fish Welfare Initiative to collect data on the current culture systems in the Philippines and, from these findings, assess the welfare status of farmed fishes.
Different fish species have dramatically different welfare needs. This report proposes a prioritization process for identifying the species most promising to work with, and provides some tentative conclusions amongst species commonly farmed in Asia.
SELECTED EXTERNAL RESEARCH
Farmed Fish Overview Reports
This report covers considerations relevant to determining appropriate indicators of farmed fish welfare. It also discusses potential reforms to improve the welfare of farmed fishes.
Briefing that covers health problems and disease, handling, stocking density, breeding methods, genetic selection and genetic engineering and farming of new fish species.
This report reviews the scientific data that allows us to interpret the effects of disease, handling, transport, food deprivation, and slaughter technique on fish welfare.
Aquaculture practices and production—including handling, grading, transport, genetic manipulation, aggression from conspecifics, predation, physiological stress, and inhumane slaughter—compromise the welfare of fish.
This report provides an overview of the extent to which fish welfare might be impacted within the aquaculture industry, by describing the main processes of fish farming and their associated welfare implications.
Wild-Caught Fish Overview Reports
Policy briefings and recommendations for wild capture fisheries to reduce the suffering and stress of fishes. Examples from this briefing include recommendations to use available technologies to minimize handling, speed up the time from capture to slaughter, and reduce overcrowding in nets.
This report details slaughter practices in the UK and the steps that can be taken to ensure slaughter is as humane as possible.
Wild capture fisheries operate far out of sight and little attention is paid to the welfare of the animals harvested. This report suggests changes in order to reduce stress after capture, minimize handling, and avoid injury and asphyxiation.
Other Selected Research
Unnaturally high juvenile mortality and poor reporting in aquaculture hatcheries are among the main findings of Dyrevernalliansen and the Norwegian Veterinary Institute's project "Småfiskvel."
This paper aims to merge what is already known about positive welfare with the existing fish behavior literature to develop a plan of action for fish welfare research that will ultimately contribute to the development of positive welfare standards and assessment strategies for fish.
The effects of domestication on welfare of farmed fishes are complex to study because fish differ from livestock in genetics, physiology and behaviour, and experience different sensory worlds. The implementation of humane farming systems should integrate industry, science and ethics in an open dialogue in order to produce relevant results.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence demonstrating that fish are sentient animals – capable of effective states of pain, fear and psychological stress and examples of impressive cognitive abilities and complex social behaviours are widespread. We therefore have a moral obligation to protect their welfare.
This report shines a spotlight on the environmental and social impacts of reduction fisheries, i.e., the use of wild-caught fish in fishmeal and fish oil (FMFO) to feed farmed fish.
Octopus farming is in an experimental phase and supported by various countries. This report argues that it is unethical because of concerns about animal welfare as well as environmental impacts.
This article is a part of a series of articles by Rethink Priorities about animals farmed for various purposes. The report addresses the welfare problems related to fish stocking.