Animal Welfare

There are concerns regarding animal welfare in the seafood industry both for farmed and caught animals.

Companies in the fishery sector should follow guidelines for appropriate fishing methods, including the implementation of humane handling and slaughtering of animals. Examples of animal welfare measures includes swift and humane slaughter on landing, reducing by-catch, and avoiding the use of live bait in fish capture.

For farmed species, there are a range of potential animal welfare issues. Issues such as low water quality, over-stocking of ponds and insufficient feed supply can increase stress and reduce the overall welfare of the animals. Sufficient feed is critical to increase growth and survival, as undernourished stocks will have higher stress levels and be less resilient to infectious diseases. It is particularly important that stocking density is kept within recommended limits in order to not negatively affect welfare or health of the farmed animals. Over-stocking of ponds can trigger stress and spreading of infectious diseases, which could result in entire stock die-offs. It is estimated that disease spreading in shrimp farms in Asia has cost the sector $20 billion over the last decade. Financial institutions can help by requiring companies in the seafood sector to have an animal welfare policy in place.

Additional resources