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Weekly Overview: Major New Grant to Improve Welfare of Fish Used for Science

Lucy Towers
03 January 2017, at 12:00am

GLOBAL - Over the last few weeks, researchers at the University of Lincoln in the UK announced that they have won a major new grant award, worth over 300,000, for a study that will help to improve the welfare of live fish used in scientific tests.

Methods currently used for monitoring fish welfare such as checking activity levels, stress hormones post mortem and clinical signs are of limited value as they can often be ambiguous, invasive and provide feedback too late for researchers to act on.

The grant will therefore help support a project to develop and validate an automated 'social network' analysis tool using computer systems that will monitor changes in social interactions within groups of zebrafish and rainbow trout, and identify those changes which provide early warning signs of compromised welfare.

In other news, an investigation into the outbreaks of white spot disease on shrimp farms in Queensland, Australia, has found that the disease has not established in wild prawns in Logan River and has not been detected on any further farms.

Also in the news, Oman and Indonesia have both announced plans to expand their aquaculture sectors.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry in Indonesia plans to invest Rp 141 billion (US$10.5 million) into building three offshore aquaculture facilities in 2017 in a hope to produce an additional 1,500 tons of sea bass annually.

In Oman, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF) is considering investing RO 706 million into projects that will help the country produce 236,000 tonnes of fish annually.

The ministry has already given initial approvals to eight tilapia aquaculture projects and is now studying the 40 proposals for farms farming other fish species.