Swansea University in collaboration with the University of Crete hosted the Second Symposium on Welfare in Aquaculture on the 26th of November 2020. Over 260 participants attended this free webinar where six international speakers discussed the use of operational welfare indicators in farmed fish. This event is a follow up of the very successful "1st symposium on welfare in aquaculture - welfare indicators for novel species".
Webinar 26 November 2020
Report by Dr Sara Barrento
THE SYMPOSIUM ON WELFARE IN AQUACULTURE
Swansea University in collaboration with the
University of Crete hosted the Second Symposium
on Welfare in Aquaculture on the 26th of November
A big audience
Over 260 participants from across all continents
attended this free webinar where six international
speakers discussed the use of operational welfare
indicators in farmed fish.
5 fish species
The Symposium focused on practical welfare
indicators for 5 key farmed fish species: Atlantic
salmon, lumpfish, sea bream, sea bass, and tilapia.
EVENT PLANNING AND ORGANIZATION
This year the symposium was delivered online on the Zoom
platform. Participants registered via Eventbrite. The webinar is
available on YouTube and the talks can be downloaded from
the symposium website.
Online platforms used to organize and disseminate the
▪ SWELA website
▪ Direct email invitation
BECAUSE FISH WELFARE MATTERS
There are over 250 species of fish farmed globally but their
welfare requirements are in many cases unique to each
species, and difficult to measure. There is a real need to
develop operational welfare indicators that can be used by fish
farmers under commercial conditions.
This free webinar addressed a topic which is relevant to
society – fish welfare matters to fish, to farmers, and also to
consumers, as evidenced by the attendance of people from 38
“Very well set out symposium and well
run. All topics very interesting.”
Feedback from participant
THE SYMPOSIUM PROGRAMME
Six speakers – six views
“Good variety of topics and approaches to the problem.”
Feedback from participant
THE SYMPOSIUM IN NUMBERS
Higher Education Institution
Fish farm company
262 participants from all continents participated in the
webinar. In this choropleth map darker blue represents a
greater number of participants in individual countries.
The UK had the greatest number of participants (81)
followed by Norway (25), Italy (20), and the Philippines (19).
From fish farmers to policy
The graph shows the percentage of participants with
different roles across the industry.
Most participants were researchers and students (57%)
few policy makers attended the webinar (1%).
A range of institutions
The graph shows the percentage of participants from the
Most participants work in the Higher Education sector
(33%), there was a good representation from Government
Institutions (%) and fish farm companies (13%).
THE SYMPOSIUM TALKS
The Director of CSAR, Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz,
at Swansea University welcomed the participants, and
highlighted three main reasons for hosting this second
symposium: the increasing awareness of fish welfare, the
link between fish welfare and fish health, and the need for
operational welfare indicators (OWIs) that can be used by
Prof. Lluis Tort of the Autonomous University of Barcelona
presented a keynote talk on Indicators of Welfare Status for
Cultured Fish. Professor Tort explained the real challenges
for measuring welfare in farmed fish and noted that despite
fish being the most “used” animals worldwide (30,000
million/year), their welfare needs are the least well known. It
was also highlighted that most scientists, and also the
majority of consumers (73%) , now accept that fish can feel
Dr. Lars Helge Stien, of the Institute of Marine Research,
focused on OWI for salmon and explained the challenges of
measuring welfare in a cage environment with thousands of
individuals; he also explained the different welfare
indicators, and the merits of having clear decision flow-
charts and 3-alert levels which are relevant for fish farmers.
THE SYMPOSIUM TALKS
The OWIs for lumpfish were discussed by Carolina
Gutierrez-Rabadan of CSAR - Swansea University. She
explained the challenges of defining welfare for novel
farmed species such as the lumpfish and provided
examples of the importance of measuring the reliability in
OWIs, and the need for simplification and validation.
Carolina presented a practical Lumpfish Operational
Welfare Score Index (LOWSI) and highlighted that most
lumpfish she sampled in salmon farms were in good
condition (70%) with only 2% in poor welfare status.
Dr. Sonia Rey Planellas of Stirling University pointed out that
there are few or no OWIs for tilapia, which is the second
most important farmed fish in the world. Tilapia is farmed
mostly in developing countries where welfare needs may not
always be a priority. Another challenge is the complex social
behaviour and aggression shown by this species
Professor Michalis Pavlidis, of the University of Crete,
discussed the different welfare challenges posed by sea
bass and sea bream at different production stages; he
highlighted the need to keep temperature within optimal limits
as a key welfare consideration for these very important
Mediterranean farmed fish. Professor Pavlidis highlighted
the big improvements that the industry has made to make
slaughtering more humane.
THE SYMPOSIUM TALKS
Dr. Sofia Teixeira of Tyndall Institute in Ireland, presented
non-invasive, rapid tests using smart sensors which can
be used to monitor health by measuring indicators such
as cortisol and other parameters that have wide
applications in the assessment of immune competence,
stress, growth, and behaviour.
The Symposium ended with Prof. Carlos Garcia de Leaniz
summarizing the talks and inviting attendants to the next
Symposium on Welfare in Aquaculture which will be hosted
in Crete in 2021.
“Good to get experiences in different species.”
“Learning about what is the current status and
knowledge on welfare indicators and measurement
practices in the different species. Was able to grab
some new resources that I can use for further study. “
Which topics or aspects of the symposium did you find most
interesting or useful?
“Future of aquaculture welfare and the
technologies we can use to get there”
“Consumer public/perceptions. General
discussion of welfare indicators. References.”
All participants found that the knowledge and information gained
from participating in the Second Symposium on Welfare in
Aquaculture met their expectations.
Knowledge and information gained from participating
in this event: will be useful/applicable in my work.
Most participants found that the knowledge and
information from participating in the webinar will be useful
and applicable in their work.