Fish welfare? Ethology!

When can a fish farm claim to be «species-appropriate»?
(Photo: Trout farm in Friuli, Italy)

Basis for species-appropriate aquaculture

How can we judge whether a fish farming method is species-appropriate? We first need to know how a species behaves in its natural habitat and the needs it has which are satisfied there. And this is precisely the problem: fish ethological studies in the wild are still few and far between...

Ethological observation in captivity, especially in the form of comparisons of different farming systems can indeed provide pointers for the improvement of the keeping of fish. However in order for studies on captive fish not to lead to circular reasoning, they need to be «calibrated»: by studies in the habitat from which the species in question originates. At the present time, there is a lack of observations of this kind on fish species kept in aquaculture – a vital research need when considering the welfare of fish raised in aquaculture.

Our goals
fish ethology database (FishEthoBase)
• highlights the research gaps
• encourages research
• enables ethologically-based answers to questions from practitioners and policymakers

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