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New Project to Bring Fish Welfare Measures Onto Farms

14 July 2016

NORWAY - A new research project named FISHWELL aims to gather and update our knowledge on fish welfare in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout, putting it together as an operational handbook for the farmers.

This research project is a joint effort between Nofima, the Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Nord University and the University of Stirling in the UK.

The project will focus on evaluating fish welfare using Operational Welfare Indicators (OWIs) defining the OWIs that are most appropriate for different life stages, rearing systems and husbandry routines.

This will help farmers identify where their production stands in relation to the specific welfare needs of the fish and allow them to identify areas of strength (best practice) and also provide assurance on acceptable levels of fish welfare.

"We are nearly half way through the project," said Nofima’s Senior Scientist Chris Noble.

"We have put a lot of groundwork into updating our welfare knowledge for each species and life-stage. The next phase will involve assessing which welfare indicators are most suitable for different rearing systems and husbandry practices, such as crowding, harvesting and other procedures.

"Thereafter, in close consultation with the steering group and other interested parties from the industry, the project partners will continue to work on how this updated knowledge can be put to use out on the farms, in the best and most practical way possible."

Mr Noble added: "The handbook will help farmers and other interested parties assess and optimise fish welfare. Promoting and illustrating welfare-friendly production practices are fundamental aspects of the project."

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