CAIA Newsletter ~ Summer 2019

NFACC / CAIA – Farmed Fish Welfare Code Update!

The National Farmed Animal Care Council (NFACC) and CAIA hosted the first two days of meetings and discussions on the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Finfish in Ottawa May 16th and 17th, 2019.

The meeting was the first of up to eight and involved members of the Code Development Committee and the Scientific Committee holding discussions on the scope of the Code and priority welfare issues affecting finfish in Canada. Among the decisions made at the first meeting, it was determined that the Code’s primary focus will be on salmonids given their popularity within the Canadian farmed finfish sector. it was also decided that the Code will aim to include general principles that may apply to other farmed finfish species in Canada.

The Code’s Scientific Committee is in the process toward compiling a research report that will examine the following priority welfare issues:

  • Current understanding, definitions or roles of consciousness, sentience, and feelings-based perspectives, learning, behaviour, nociception, neurophysiology, philosophy, morals/ethics, public perceptions and the “Precautionary Principle” on farmed fish welfare

  • Welfare measures/indicators of fish (acute and chronic stress/distress and those associated with injury and disease)

  • Impact of sea lice that affect fish welfare and welfare concerns associated with treatments

  • Fasting/feed withdrawal, optimal nutrition, and accelerated feeding

  • Welfare appropriate stocking rates/density and management in relation to associated factors (e.g. temperature, water quality, fish behaviour)

  • New and emerging water quality issues in recirculating aquaculture systems affecting fish welfare

  • Impact of lighting and photoperiods (including quality) on fish welfare

  • Welfare concerns associated with hormonal and diurnal induced spawning, and creating non-reproductive fish (triploids, monosex)

  • Genetic improvement strategies (including natural selection and genetic engineering)

  • Welfare implications of using ice slurry for slaughter.

The Code Development Committee will be meeting next in Ottawa on September 5 and 6, 2019 where we will be comparing farmed finfish standards of interest and reviewing provincial animal protection legislation.