Welfare in fish
As discussed in the meeting in Teramo (Italy) in 2014:
The living conditions, the appearances and ways of communication of terrestrial and aquatic farm animals differ, and the less visible aquatic animals have not received the same amount of attention and sympathy as farm animals.
Scientific evidence over how fish feel pain is not unequivocal, however there is general acceptance that they are sentient beings and perceive nociceptive stimuli.
Based on the state of art of scientific knowledge on fish welfare, EuroFAWC’s participants agree on the following general recommendations:
- The awareness on welfare in fish among people in general should be improved
- The level of competence of anglers, fish farmers and fishermen should increase by e.g. introducing voluntary courses and certification.
- More guidelines and regulations to improve fish farming and catching are needed.
- Fish health and welfare as well as environmental issues should be taken into account when drawing up action plans.
- Research should be initiated to better understand impacts of human activities on fish welfare, and where need for improvements are obvious.
More specific recommendations for the different fishery forms are:
- living fish as bait during angling should be banned in similarity with the existing ban of other vertebrates as bait.
- Guidelines for fish farming should be reviewed with more focus on fish welfare.
- Methods to reduce duration of capture, injury and stress through landing, by-catch should be elaborated for commercial fisheries, stunning and slaughter methods should be improved.