محمد شهاب- المزارع السمكية Mohamed Shihab -Aquacultures

يعرض الموقع الأحدث من ومقالات و صور و مواقع تخص الاستزراع السمكى

Using assessment to unlock improvements in aquaculture welfare

Editor/Mohamed Shihab

In the world of aquaculture, ensuring the welfare of farmed aquatic animals is often overshadowed by other priorities. With the misconception terrestrial livestock are more sentient than aquatic species, animal welfare has been less advanced in aquaculture compared to land-based farming.

We’re committed to rewriting the current narrative and as FAI Aquaculture Project Manager Marius Nicolini explains, welfare assessments are helping us achieve this goal.

Since 2018, FAI has been at the forefront of driving aquatic welfare globally and we’ve learnt that developing strong assessment frameworks and tools can significantly improve the welfare management of all aquatic species.

By successfully evaluating physical, physiological and behavioural indicators, our assessments accurately identify areas for improvement and guide farmers to develop their farming systems accordingly. This not only helps improve a farmer’s profits, but also the welfare of their animals. 

The power of assessments

Following extensive research, the publication of peer-reviewed academic articles and practical on-farm experience, FAI has developed a Welfare Assessment Protocol based on an indicator framework for nutrition, health, animal behaviour and environment.

The framework's four indicators are crucial for gauging the welfare of farmed aquatic animals and are rated on a scale from 1 (positive) to 3 (negative). This setup enables farmers to pinpoint potential risk areas and prioritise actions needed to enhance welfare. Regular assessments are particularly valuable, as they uncover stressors negatively impacting an aquatic animal’s quality of life, but also its health, growth rate and productive potential.

And assessments don’t just benefit individual farmers.

Having an established welfare framework and clear assessment protocol also ensures best practice can be upheld across the aquaculture supply chain and throughout the entire production cycle.

Through the establishment of shared standards and protocols, industry stakeholders can work together to advance sustainable and responsible aquaculture practices. This not only enhances animal welfare but also boosts efficiency and profitability within the sector.

Assessment tools

One of FAI’s goals is to uncover welfare science, synthesise this knowledge and put it in the hands of farmers. We know farmers have the greatest impact on the welfare of animals in their care and we need to empower them to make changes on their farms. The development of easy-to-use, farmer-friendly assessment tools is therefore vital if we are to improve aquatic welfare standards.

Following visits to Brazilian tilapia farms, where fish survival rates of just 50 to 60 percent were considered the norm, FAI started the development and subsequent launch of the Tilapia Welfare App. This mobile-friendly app is free of charge and helps farmers easily log and evaluate the four welfare indicators outlined in FAI’s Welfare Assessment Protocol.

Farmers share their observations and receive feedback on how they're doing. This feedback is scored and suggests ways they could improve. Plus, there's online training available in different languages like English, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai and Chinese.

But we don’t want to stop at tilapia.

We’ve now launched our Shrimp Welfare project, have successfully developed a new shrimp welfare assessment protocol and are currently working on a shrimp welfare app. With over 167 million shrimp farmed every year, we know this work will have a huge impact on improving welfare in the aquaculture sector.

Research and on-farm experiences prove time and time again improved fish welfare not only leads to happier, healthier fish but to a better product for consumers and greater financial returns for farmers. By promoting fish welfare we’re not only reducing animal suffering, but helping produce more food in a sustainable way - and the use of welfare assessments and assessment tools is helping us achieve this.

FAI Farms Ltd. is a Registered Company in England and Wales No. 4131435.

www.faifarms.com

المصدر: faifarms
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نشرت فى 23 مايو 2024 بواسطة hatmheet

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