Welfare, ethics and feeding for farming and conditioning of wild fish

Last changed: 26 January 2024
Weighing and measuring of a wild-caught cod. Photo.

Grow-out or conditioning of wild-caught fish in aquaculture can increase profitability of inshore fisheries, which currently suffer economic problems, with little negative side-effects on stock status and aquatic ecosystems. However, knowledge about welfare of wild-born fish held in captivity is crucial.

Are wild-born fish stressed by captivity? Do they display aggressive behaviour, other signs of stress, or do they adjust well to the conditions? Are there differences related to species, and what improvements of the conditions are needed to ensure a decent welfare level? Farming of wild-type strains which are not domesticated for a life in captivity may result in poor health and welfare of the fish. Farming of wild-born fish will also likely require a diet modification compared to their diet as wild, by meeting demands for easily administered feeds in farming facilities. The idea to the project was born during the work in a previous SLU Aquaculture funded project "Feasibility and potential for farming and conditioning of wild fish fed with by-catches in Sweden". The current project will include measurements of stress levels in wild-caught cod in captivity, and feeding of cod with a feed based on insect larvae. The results from the project will be used in a research application for continuous research, including ethical aspects, of farming of wild-born fish.

Partners involved

  • Albin Gräns from the Department of Animal Environment and Health, VH-Faculty, SLU.
  • Helena Röcklinsberg from the Department of Animal Environment and Health, VH-Faculty, SLU.
  • Aleksandar Vidakovic from the Department of Animal Nutrition and Management, VH-Faculty, SLU.
  • Örjan Östman, Arne Fjälling, Maria Ovegård, Sven-Gunnar Lunneryd from the Department of Aquatic Resources, NJ-Faculty, SLU.


The project start was at the end of 2018 and last for two years. The project is funded by SLU Aquaculture, which support cross-faculty collaborations to further strengthen aquaculture research at SLU. Read more about SLU Aquaculture, current research projects and upcoming calls.