Document type: review article published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Author: Heather Browning
Preview: While global aquaculture is rapidly expanding, there remains little attention given to the assessment of animal welfare within aquacultural systems. It is crucial that animal welfare concerns are central in the development and implementation of aquaculture as if they are not prioritized early on, it becomes much more difficult to adapt in future. To this end, it is important to ensure the availability of high-quality welfare assessment schemes to evaluate the welfare of animals in aquaculture and promote and maintain high welfare standards. This paper will first discuss some of the current certification and assessment frameworks, highlighting the primary limitations that need to be addressed, before going on to describe the recommendations for a best-practice welfare assessment process for aquaculture; with the hope that these considerations can be taken on board and used to help improve welfare assessment for aquaculture and, ultimately, to ensure animals used in aquaculture have a higher level of welfare. Any aquacultural system should be assessed according to a suitable framework in order to be considered adequate for the welfare of the animals it contains, and thus to maintain social license to operate.