VERSION 2 The neurophysiological determination of effective stunning systems for fish

  • Wotton, Stephen B (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Podesta, Tom J (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


The neurophysiological and behavioural evaluation of a novel humane electric stunning system for fish

It has long been recognised that the welfare of fish at slaughter is comparatively poor in relation to the welfare of land animals at slaughter, due in part to technical difficulties associated with developing effective electrical stunning systems for fish that are safe for use in an aquatic environment. Although long neglected, the welfare of fish of slaughter is also receiving significant attention from consumers who are demanding better welfare during the slaughter process. This fact, coupled with the massive expansion of aquaculture to meet the challenges of feeding a rapidly expanding population means that improvements in the welfare of fish at slaughter are urgently required. There are well-defined neurophysiological parameters in mammals and birds that can be used to confirm whether stunning has been effective. However there is little consensus on neurophysiological parameters that indicate an effective stun in fish. This project will investigate the methodologies currently used by researchers to evaluate effective stunning in other species and determine whether these criteria can be applied to a range of fish species. In addition, if necessary, new techniques will be investigated to further our understanding of stunning effectiveness in farmed fish based on detailed analysis of brain activity. The neurophysiological assessment in the laboratory will be used to identify behavioural signs that can subjectively identify whether fish are stunned or not. Therefore the first part of this proposal will focus on the determination of neurophysiological methodologies that can be used to define an effective stun in fish to reduce excitement, pain or suffering. The methodology developed will be used to assess the effectiveness of commercially used electrical stunning systems to produce a humane stun.
Effective start/end date1/08/1628/02/18


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