Aquaculture Welfare Standards Initiative

Rationale for the trade initiative

Animal welfare in aquaculture does not attract enough international attention at the moment. Fish and other aquatic animals are consumed all over the world. Their breeding in aquaculture becomes increasingly important year after year, as marine wildlife is severely threatened by overfishing. The sustainable marine use is an area of focus that is negotiated hard. However, there are no adequate international animal welfare standards for the breeding of fish, shrimp or mollusca.

Often enough, producers simply lack in the necessary know-how and support to implement an aquaculture that is more reconcilable with animal welfare standards. This could be overcome by agreeing on common global goals for the industry. To this end, a group of representatives from animal welfare, science, economy, administration, trade, certification and breeding came together in November 2018 and founded the “Aquaculture Welfare Standards Initiative” (AWSI, German acronym: ITA)

AWSI’s mission is to initiate and lead an intersectoral consultation process for the development, formulation and international implementation of aquatic animal welfare standards.

Since October 2020, the international appearance of the initiative originally known as ITA is “Aquaculture Welfare Standards Initiative”.

Animal welfare in aquaculture – five core issues

AWSI has identified five aquaculture related topics which are particularly relevant for animal welfare and has unanimously agreed on recommendations for improvements.

Read more about each of these main topics.

Given that fish are sentient, it is in their best interest not to suffer and to feel well.

Dr. Leonor Galhardo, International Society of Livestock Husbandry (IGN): Fish welfare in aquaculture

Project coordinator and contact

Stefan-Andreas Johnigk, MSc. (graduate biologist, “Diplom-Biologe”)
Aquaculture Welfare Standards Initiative (AWSI)
Wischhofstr. 1-3, building 1 (market hall), 1st floor
D-24148 Kiel