RENSVEL OWI FACT SHEET SERIES: An introduction to Operational and Laboratory-based Welfare Indicators for lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.)
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Fish welfare, defined by Stien et al., (2013) as the “quality of life as perceived by the animals themselves” requires various tools to assess and evaluate it (see e.g. Noble et al., 2018). These tools are termed Welfare Indicators (WIs) and can be classified as either animal or environment based (e.g. Nilsson, Stien, Iversen et al., 2018): - Animal-based (Direct) indicators – an indicator that is on, or from the fish, applied at either the individual or group level. - Environment-based (Indirect) indicators – an indicator that is based upon the rearing environment e.g. water quality, various management processes or the farm infrastructure. WIs that can be used out on the farm are termed Operational Welfare Indicators, or OWIs (e.g. Noble et al., 2012). WIs that are sampled at the farm (either from the animal or the environment it is subjected to) but are then sent to a lab for further analysis are termed Laboratory-based Welfare Indicators, or LABWIs (Nilsson, Stien, Iversen et al., 2018). Health and welfare are key to the successful rearing and deployment of cleaner fish out on the farms. However, knowledge on their welfare is relatively scarce in relation to other more established farmed species, although attempts are being made to correlate what is available and give an overview of the potential welfare challenges the fish face (e.g. Treasurer et al., 2018). This fact sheet series will give a brief overview of some of the latest science-based findings and some practical experience with regard to a suite of life-stage and species-specific OWIs and LABWIs for lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.). For each OWI/LABWI we will i) briefly outline the indicator, ii) give a science-based overview of the information we have about it, such as potential risk factors and mitigation strategies that can be linked to it, and either iii) give an overview of some practical knowledge related to the OWI, or iv) address the methods for measuring the OWI/LABWI.