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

Senast ändrad: 04 juni 2019
Weighing and measuring of a wild-cought cod.

Purpose and aims

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. Such production requires farming of wild type strains which are not domesticated for life in captivity and 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 proposed project was born during the work in our previous SLU Aquaculture funded project" Feasibility and potential for farming and conditioning of wild fish fed with by-catches in Sweden". We relieved that in the spring of 2019 there is a unique opportunity to take advantage of an ongoing pilot case of grow-out farming of wild caught cod funded by Leader Blekinge and Program Sälar och Fiske and govern by SLU Aqua, as a model for grow-out farming of wild caught fish at a comparably low cost. 

There will be three activities in this project;

1) Measures of stress levels in wild caught cod in captivity,

2) feeding cod a feed based on insect larvae,

3) Writing a research application for continuous research, including ethical aspects, of farming of wild born fish.

The results from the three activities will be used in a research application and presented at a seminar at SLU.

Knowledge about the welfare is crucial. Are wild born fish stressed by captivity? Do they display aggressive behavior, (other) signs of stress, or do they adjust well to the conditions, and what is the level and cause of mortality? Are there differences related to species, and what improvements of the conditions are needed to ensure a decent welfare level?


The three parts will be done during spring 2019 and run in parallel. Activity 1 and 2 is planned to be published and being presented at seminars at SLU Aquaculture.

Collaboration between Faculties

The interactions between researchers from different department and faculties will here result in research conducted in a "real" system ensuring a development of farming of wild fish relevant for practitioners. Achieving good fish welfare and efficient feeds requires for an economic fish production will be facilitated by a collaboration between researchers in ethics and animal welfare (HMH, VH-faculty), fish production and fisheries (SLU Aqua, NJ-Faculty), and fish feed systems (HUV, VH-faculty). Researchers at SLU Aqua will contribute with expertise in fisheries and a unique network of fishermen/fisherwomen whereas researchers at VH-faculty are experts on animal ethics and welfare, and fish feeds and nutrition.

Partners involved

Helena Röcklinsberg, Dept. Animal Environment and Health, VH-Faculty, SLU.
Aleksandar Vidakovic, Dept. Animal Nutrition and Management, VH-Faculty, SLU.
Örjan Östman, Arne Fjälling, Maria Ovegård, Sven-Gunnar Lunneryd, Dept. Aquatic Resources, NJ-Faculty, SLU.

Sidansvarig: eva-stina.lindell@slu.se