Working method

AWSI evaluates

  • scientific evidence
  • technically advanced developments
  • social and legal requirements

to substantiate the resulting essential recommendations for international animal welfare standards in the breeding of fish and other aquatic life.

The AWSI recommendations represent the minimal consensus which the stakeholders of all stages of the value-added chain agreed on and considered feasible.

Since many fishes are subjected to anthropogenic sources of potential stress , the issue of fish health management and welfare management is increasingly becoming a priority for those involved in these activities.

Prof. Lluis Tort & Dr. Joan Carles Balasch, International Society of Livestock Husbandry (IGN): Fish welfare in aquaculture

AWSI recommendations are based on the legal requirements of the German Animal Welfare Act (TierSchG) and substantiated by scientific findings which have not yet been taken into account in the legal framework, but are crucial to improve animal welfare standards.

All relevant animal welfare aspects are evaluated in respect of their acceptance and practicability for all stages of the value-added chain. Only those aspects which negotiate this first hurdle will be converted into AWSI recommendations.

The basic AWSI recommendations are intended to support aquaculture farmers in reviewing and adjusting the husbandry conditions on their farms.

AWSI animal welfare recommendations are

  • science based
  • well accepted across the industry
  • socially relevant
  • economically feasible
  • socially and ecologically sustainable
  • easily comprehensible, consistently applicable and phrased in an appealing language

Animal welfare recommendations for aquaculture originating from AWSI’s work are continuously refined in order to achieve a long-term improvement of aquaculture quality.

It is definitely not AWSI’s task to develop a new certificate or umbrella brand, but rather to formulate a meta standard as benchmark for orientation and enhancement of existing systems on the market.

The implementation of the recommended measures by aquaculture farmers is beyond AWSI’s control, but AWSI members are encouraged to advocate this concept to the best of their abilities.

There is already some common ground between fish welfare and industry concerns in that fishes which are reared and killed humanely are less stressed, and therefore produce a better fillet quality and a longer shelf life.

Prof. Culum Brown & Dr. Catherine Dorey, International Society of Livestock Husbandry (IGN): Fish welfare in aquaculture