Overall fish health and welfare are relatively easy to maintain by simply applying good husbandry practices. Fish welfare is closely related to the health and productivity of fish, which in turn depends on the use of adequate biosecurity and husbandry practices. In general terms, stress-free well-fed fish are happy fish.
In many countries, official regulations dictate specific requirements related to animal welfare and it is important to ensure compliance with regulatory agencies. Local or national animal associations and Government institutions are usually a good source of fish welfare guidelines that are relevant for each geographical area.
Fish welfare principles applicable to most geographical areas are:
- Fish will be provided water, feed, proper handling, veterinary care, and a safe environment appropriate to their age and stage of production;
- Fish will always be cared for in ways that promote animal well-being and minimize chronic pain and suffering;
- Husbandry procedures are continuously evaluated, and when required, will be refined or replaced;
- Fish will be treated with respect and dignity throughout their lives and, when necessary, provided a humane death, utilizing locally approved methods;
- Mistreatment, abuse, and/or violence towards fish is not tolerated and may lead to charges laid down under local animal welfare laws.