The staggering size of the European aquaculture industry


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How are fish raised on aquaculture farms?

CIWF and Earthling Ed both have major aquaculture welfare concerns. Both sides cite the harsh conditions the animals endure in their lifetimes, as well as their often brutal deaths.

Earthling Ed said, “Fish spend their entire lives in underwater enclosures, whether in sea cages or concrete tanks, and overcrowding makes them vulnerable to disease, stress and physical injury such as fish. fin damage or deformity of the spine, as well as parasitic infections.

“Fish are also brutally handled on aquaculture farms and those deemed too sick are taken out of tanks and often beaten to death. “

Dr Lara added: “Most of the 51 to 167 billion fish produced on farms around the world are raised in intensive systems, where fish are maintained at high stocking densities in arid environments – a configuration designed for maximize production rather than the welfare of fish. “

Fish welfare issues on UK aquaculture farms

According to Dr Lara, fish are “intelligent with impressive behaviors and problem-solving skills that help them find food, mates and avoid predators.”

She added, “An intensive farm, on the other hand, is a boring, low-stimulating environment that restricts the behavior of fish.”

She said: “In intensive aquaculture, fish can suffer from higher rates of acute and chronic stress, assault and injury, which increases the risk of disease transmission.

“Fish are often exposed to extremely stressful handling procedures, involving being taken out of the water where they suffocate (suffocation), and the vast majority of fish farmed around the world are killed using fish-farming practices. inhuman slaughter. “

These practices include asphyxiation in air or ice sludge. Loss of consciousness and death by these methods are not rapid and the suffering is unacceptably prolonged.

Advocates believe fish should be stunned before they are killed to avoid pain and suffering.

Dr Lara continues: “Stunning methods (such as electric or percussive stunning) are available and may allow more humane death for some species, but a significant amount of work is required to achieve widespread adoption by. industry.

“Many of the most popular fish to eat are carnivorous, which means they eat other fish in the wild.

“When carnivorous species are bred, we also have to take into account the welfare of the large number of fish caught from the wild for processing into food for farmed fish.

“Every year, 0.5 to 1 trillion fish are caught from the wild, destined to be reduced to fishmeal and fish oil, of which about 70% is used by the aquaculture industry as food. These fish will suffer during capture and are left to suffocate on board the vessel.

“Industrial fish farming is also associated with environmental problems such as greenhouse gas emissions, deleterious impacts on wild fish populations from escapes of farmed fish, the use or abuse of fish. ‘antibiotics and chemicals and the release of nutrients from food waste and feces that impact the marine environment. “


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