World Aquaculture 2023

May 29 - June 1, 2023

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia


Kenidas Lukman*, Anton Immink


64 New Cavendish Street
London, W1G 8TB, United Kingdom 


Welfare is an ancient concept, although was almost exclusively applied to humans until the late 20th century. Early philosophy, science and practice highlighted a difference between humans and animals – with animals only seen as being there to serve a purpose to humans. Darwin and others started to highlight the emotions of animals, but it was another 100 years – linked to the industrialisation of animal farming – before welfare really started to be of concern to scientists and consumers. Of course, many farmers of land animals will readily tell you that for generations they have known that happy animals are more productive, but welfare in aquaculture is a very recent, but already growing, discussion. Animal welfare is understood in many ways in different countries; how actively they move, how well they feed, how healthy they look. The initial focus in aquaculture was on salmon, aiming to address issues during culture and slaughter. Considerations around health have long been tied to welfare, but wider issues are now considered. Recent work on eyestalk ablation in shrimp has helped to highlight welfare issues in other species and right along the production chain. The science demonstrates to shrimp hatcheries and producers that better fecundity and growth can be expected when shrimp don’t have their eyes chopped off to stimulate reproduction.

Today we see innovators highlighting welfare in many aquaculture species, including carp and octopus. During this presentation we will discuss how these innovators are promoting technical solutions and good practice to farmers and processors. In the production environment, appropriate stocking density is a key consideration, but water quality of the growing environment is also highlighted. As buyers increasingly demand high-welfare across supply chains, how can farmers and processors access the latest information or demonstration their understanding of and compliance with those requirements? Data-driven farming is helping to open up opportunities for improvement in all aspects of aquaculture and the potential for greater transparency should also lead to better production environments, health and ultimately welfare. Training programs are provided by some retailers who are keen to ensure that farmers in their supply chains are well-informed in order to comply with demands. Other companies are providing on-line training for farmers wanting to educate and differentiate themselves. Further still, some organisations are providing equipment, e.g., electrical stunning machines, to producers and processors in order to provide real-time demonstration of the value and ease of shifting to better welfare practices.