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Studies to Develop the Welfare: Profit Relationship

NORWAY - A group of scientists from six European countries will develop models that will provide answers about the relationships and consequences if the regulating framework for fish welfare changes.

With four selected indicators - mortality, fin damage, deviation in feed intake and changes in CO2 - as a starting point, the group will look at biological factors which influence the fish, the company's economy, product quality and the consumer?s perception of the product.

Fiskeriforskning will lead the sub-projects 'fin damages and 'CO2 in the three-year European project called BENEFISH.

Cross Collaboration

Scientists from three different disciplines - biology, social science and economics - will jointly develop a model to assess what effects changes in conditions for farmed fish have, both economical and social.

The group will study what the costs will be, measured against the benefits for the fish, fish farmer and consumer, says Senior Scientist Børge Damsgård, who is heading the project at Fiskeriforskning.

"We believe the best measures to improve the welfare of farmed fish are when we can show the benefits are greater than the costs," adds Damsgård.

...the best measures to improve the welfare of farmed fish are when we can show the benefits are greater than the costs.
Børge Damsgård, Fiskeriforskning

The scientists will study if fin damages can indicate something about fish welfare. There are many reasons for fin damages, including water quality and social interactions between the fish.

By reducing the reasons for fin damages, increased growth and improved health will have an influence on the fish farmer's economy, says Damsgård.

Consumers will also perceive the fish as a more ethically handled product and the quality will be better.

The project, which started in February 2007, has nine collaboration partners. The main project is headed by Sunil Kadri at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.