Why doesn’t AWSI make specific recommendations on stocking density?
The stocking density must always take the species and age of the fish being raised into consideration. What seems beneficial for one species can be fatal for another, and young fish often join together to form schools, while older conspecifics tend to claim a territory for themselves.
Excessive stocking densities in an aquaculture environment can lead to crowding, stress and injury, while too low stocking densities can trigger territorial behavior in some species. Both must be avoided. Furthermore, available water supply and exchange, as well as water quality, must be considered when determining stocking densities. The more animals live in a water body – pond, basin – the faster the water quality can deteriorate.
Ultimately, the level of stocking density that does not lead to conditions in a farm that are detrimental to animal welfare also depends on the quality of farm management. A fish farm with optimally trained employees who recognize harmful changes in time and successfully counteract them can work with higher stocking densities without any problems than a poorly managed farm.