Because of the impact fish welfare can have on other areas of our world,
we believe that higher welfare is the right thing for fish, industry, and our planet.
A Clean Environment
Without proper treatment, fish farm waste enters the environment through farms’ wastewater discharge and majorly disrupts ecosystems (Adams, 2019) . Some of this discharge, for example ammonia, can be highly toxic. Farm wastewater also significantly contributes to eutrophication leading to algal blooms and ocean dead zones (Global Aquaculture Alliance, 2019).
Improving welfare reduces harmful wastewater generation:
Appropriate feeding systems increase welfare by reducing aggression, and leave less feed suspended in the water (Miller & Semmens, 2002). Reducing food conversion ratios (FCRs) by 30% reduces environmental impacts by 20% (d’Orbcastel, 2009).
Appropriate stocking densities and less crowding further enhance FCRs (Santos et al., 2010).
Reduced Disease Transmission
Diseases and parasites can easily spread from farmed to wild individuals and vice versa. Consequently, wild fish collected near farms are 16 times more likely to have diseases and parasites (Barrett et al., 2018).
By increasing welfare, farmed fish eat more efficiently. This leaves less feed diffused to attract wild fish and minimizes disease transmission (Miller & Semmens, 2002). Less wild fish also decreases the attraction of predatory fish and mammals, both of which can get entangled in aquaculture gear (Barrett et al., 2018).
Higher welfare overall minimizes the risk of transmission because it decreases disease and parasite susceptibility (Naylor & Burke, 2005).
Fish escaping from farms pose a serious threat to local species by interbreeding, resource competition, disease, and parasite transmission.
Stressed fish appear to attempt more escapes (Cerqueira et al. 2020 & 2017). Consequently, increasing welfare minimizes the risk of escapes.