Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

The interaction between water quality and welfare in farmed rainbow trout - AW1205

In recent years the welfare of all farm animals, including fish, has become a high profile issue and there is increasing pressure on the regulatory authorities to legislate on fish welfare. The need to base legislation on sound data has been identified by the Farm Animal Welfare Council and recently the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries. The fish farming industry has corroborated the need for scientific data on which to base regulation and is supportive of research addressing this need. A previous DEFRA project (AW1203) on stocking density demonstrated the important influence of water quality on welfare. Research is required to resolve contradictions and gaps in the literature and recommend limits for water quality parameters that ensure good welfare. The initial part of the project will consist of a detailed literature review and a series of focus groups with stakeholders to identify current indicators of welfare and to raise awareness of the project. Simultaneously a series of farm visits will produce an understanding of the capacity for monitoring and control of water quality over the entire industry. Replicated cascades (series of experimental tanks), will provide robust data on the effect of deteriorating water quality, on specific welfare indicators independent of other influences on welfare. Information from this study will inform a large epidemiological study to examine water quality and welfare indicators over the entire range of the industry and throughout the year. Following multilevel modelling of all the data the project will conclude with a stakeholders’ workshop to discuss the identified risks to welfare from water quality and agree key auditable welfare measures. The project aims to define acceptable limits for water quality with regard to trout welfare and agree with stakeholders auditable welfare measures agreed. DEFRA will also gain further benefit by having up-to-date, scientifically derived results relating to water quality and trout welfare and be in a strong position to advise and contribute towards any recommendations or regulations that the Council of Europe may wish to introduce.
Project Documents
• Final Report : The Interaction between Water Quality and Welfare in Farmed Rainbow Trout   (528k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2008

Cost: £295,209
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Stirling, CEFAS
Animal Welfare              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare