NAPA to contribute to Seafood Federation welfare project
The project aims to develop shared routines for best practice of measuring and reviewing animal welfare in the industry. Zoologist and scientific adviser Susanna Lybæk in The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance (NAPA) applauds the initiative.
– We are relieved to see that the industry is finally taking action, and we will contribute with our expertise and perspective, she says.
The Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance helps those animals who need it the most. Fish are unique in that there is a very high number of individual animals involved in the industry, and they have been treated poorly for a very long time.
Scientific forum as a driving force
The welfare project will include all fish species in Norwegian aquaculture, including cleaner fish. The welfare and needs of these small fish have long been overlooked. Photo: Susanna LybækAccording to the Norwegian Seafood Federation, who announced the news at their annual conference in Ålesund, these new routines will place the aquaculture industry at the very forefront of animal welfare. The Seafood Federation will set up a scientific forum, AquaWelfare, which will be a driving force for the project. NAPA will participate in the forum together with representatives from aquaculture companies, suppliers, and from research and academic communities.
The welfare project will be scientifically based, and will utilise the newly developed toolkit 'Fishwell' to measure welfare in different parts of the production and during different procedures. The project will systematically search for problem areas and find solutions.
– This industry has for a long time had its share of challenges, and it is about time that their attention turns to the welfare of the fish. We will work to ensure that this project will provide measurably better animal welfare with all producers and in all parts of the prodution, says Lybæk.
The project will be launched in 2018 and includes yearly goals until its end in 2021:
2018: Planning, and getting institutions, producers and other contributors involved.
2019: Running pilot testing of registering welfare status. Analysing welfare in a representative sample of producers. Developing routines and systems.
2020: Making adjustments, scaling up analyses.
1st half of 2020: Evaluate pilots from 2019.
2nd half of 2020: Complete the system for internal control on animal welfare in aquaculture.
2021: Establish a system for internal control on animal welfare in the individual aquaculture companies.
– No industry has better prerequisites
Norway is the world's largest producer of farmed salmon. 95% of the salmon is exported.
– As a world leader in salmon production, the Norwegian aquaculture industry has a responsibility to operate in harmony with updated knowledge on the abilities and needs of fish. This is currently not the case, says Lybæk.
Due to a number of challenges in the industry, fish mortality rates and disease levels are high. In addition, no overview of the fish welfare status exists. Lybæk points out that there is a need for a better understanding of animal welfare within the industry. Even though it may be difficult to see a solution to the problems today, this does not mean that solutions do not exist.
– The Norwegian aquaculture industry can be characterised as fast-paced, adaptable and affluent. These properties must now be put to use in order to overcome these welfare challenges before they suffocate the industry. The problems will not be easy to solve, but no livestock industry in Norway has better prerequisites for making a change than the aquaculture industry, Lybæk concludes.