Aquaculture for all

Fish stunning study offered six-figure funding

Fisheries Welfare +2 more

The Humane Slaughter Association is offering up to £200,000 in funding to encourage the development and adoption of humane slaughter methods for wild-caught fish.

The funding is intended to support a systematic review and feasibility study into stunning or killing of wild-caught fish in commercial fisheries.

Fish stunners, such as this one by Ace Aquatec, are increasingly used when harvesting farmed fish

© Ace Aquatec

Billions of fish are caught for food every year, the vast majority of which are not stunned before killing, despite strong evidence that many experience significant suffering between capture and death.

As a result, the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA) hopes to encourage the development and adoption of humane slaughter methods and, as a preliminary step, wishes to support a systematic study into humane capture and slaughter of fish caught on a commercial scale in the wild for food.

The aim of this research is to investigate the feasibility of the development and use of methods of humane stunning or stun/killing in order to minimise pain or distress in commercial fisheries. The research should also consider the sustainability of such methods (economic, environmental, ethical and social considerations, including practicality).

The research is expected to consist of three major components:

  • An overview of the worldwide wild-capture fishing industry.
  • A systematic review of any existing relevant research into the stunning of wild-caught fish.
  • Using the systematic review as its basis, a feasibility analysis of which fishing system, species of fish, geographical fishing area, etc is most likely to be amenable to the adoption of routine stunning.

Applications should be made via the HSA website. The deadline for receipt of applications is 10 January 2020, with the aim of making an award by April 2020.