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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Ethical aspects of farming of wild fish

Rocklinsberg, H.; Grans, A.; Kornum, A.; Gjerris, M.


Fish consumption is increasingly prompted by e.g. FAO as a healthy source of nutrients and emits fewer greenhouse gases than most types of terrestrial animal production. Besides wild caught fish, traditional aquaculture production covers approximately 50% of global fish consumption and growing-out of wild caught fish meets approximately 20% of global aquaculture production. All these forms of production are related to a number of well-known ethical issues, such as overfishing, by-catch and discard, biodiversity loss, ghost nets, working conditions, food security, etc. Further, a number of fish welfare issues are at stake, such as suffocation in wild catch, and transport, stunning and slaughter in aquaculture. In this paper we'll focus on farming of wild fish as it is a growing business and has the potential to solve some of these ethical issues, but also raises both old and new concerns. A number of advantages can be seen for the producers in terms of better prediction of the production levels compared with wild catch - increased price control, choice of target species to meet consumer demands, etc. Environmental advantages compared to wild catch are no by-catch and less fuel used - given the feed is not based on wild catch, or by-catch is used as feed. Also, wild fish can suffer from low welfare in terms of malnutrition and could benefit from being fed and being protected from predators. However, some ethical issues remain, e.g. the livelihood of the fishermen, societal perception of fish welfare, feeding with living prey and the sustainability of feed. Thus, this paper highlight some of the important ethical challenges to a new aquaculture practice.


aquaculture; fish welfare; living prey

Published in

Book title: Sustainable governance and management of food systems : ethical perspectives : EurSafe 2019 Tampere, Finland 18 – 21 September 2019
ISBN: 978-90-8686-341-9, eISBN: 978-90-8686-892-6
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers


15th Congress of the European-Society-for-Agricultural-and-Food-Ethics (EurSafe), SEP 18-21, 2019, Tampere, FINLAND