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News Section Icon Published 23/11/2021

On December 1st, 2021, Compassion in World Farming EU will organise a webinar to highlight why the forthcoming revision of EU animal welfare legislation must include protection for farmed fish and other aquatic animals. The current lack of legislation to protect these animals has a huge impact on the way in which up to 1.6 billion farmed fish ending up on our tables are raised and slaughtered each year.  

logos of the organizers

A discussion on improvement through legislation  

The webinar, titled ‘The need for welfare legislation for aquatic animals’, will bring together leading aquaculture and fish welfare policy experts as well as Members of the European Parliament and Commission. Download the full webinar programme.

The goal is to raise awareness and push the need for species-specific welfare rules for aquatic animals up the policy agenda.  

The discussion will hopefully influence the European Commission’s review of the EU animal welfare legislation and lead to the introduction, at last, of a set of minimum standards to improve the welfare of fish, molluscs and cephalopods like squid and octopus that are currently farmed, or could be in the future. 

The forgotten ones  

Fish are sentient animals capable of suffering. They can feel pain, fear and stress. Yet at the moment their welfare is barely protected.  

Fish farms — underwater factory farms — severely restrict the natural behaviours of fish because they are typically overcrowded. In overcrowded conditions fish are more susceptible to disease and suffer more stress, aggression and physical injuries.  

In addition to annual EU catches of between 50 and 80 billion wild fish, we estimate that over half a billion fish are slaughtered on EU fish farms every year.   

Furthermore, legislation protecting molluscs such as lobsters, crabs and octopuses is essential to regulate the inhumane farming practices that are being developed due to increased demand for these species. 

farmed fish

Our speakers 

  • Krzysztof Wojtas, Head of the Fish Policy team of Compassion in World Farming, will give a presentation on “Why the revision of animal welfare legislation would be incomplete without addressing fish welfare”. 

  • Joao Luis Saraiva PhD, an ethologist focusing his research on fish welfare at CCMAR and working at Fairfish on the FishEthoBase, an association that informs on ethological knowledge on farmed fish species to improve their welfare and avoid harmful practices. Presentation title: “Fish have minds but who minds the fish?”. 

  • Nathan Pyne-Carter, CEO of Ace Aquatec Ldt, a company selling and bringing innovation in the supply of aquaculture and marine humane slaughter practices and technologies. Presentation title: “Technological advancements in the humane slaughter of farmed and wild fish”.  

  • Katerina Marinou, Leader of EU Animal Welfare Platform subgroup on fish, Hellenic Ministry of Rural Development and Food. Presentation title: “Fish Welfare Guidelines – Knowledge for Practical Implementation”. 

  • Andrea Gavinelli, Head of the Animal Welfare Unit of the European Commssion, DG SANTE, will present the fish welfare issues from the “Strategic Guidelines on EU aquaculture” that have been adopted in May 2021 as well as the Commission's plans.  

Our co-hosts 

  • Francisco Guerreiro, Portuguese MEP from the Greens EFA group. He is a key figure for the advancement of fish welfare and aquaculture in the European Parliament through his membership to the Committees on Fisheries and Agriculture.  

  • Anja Hazekamp, member of the Dutch Party for the Animals, MEP from The Left political group and active member of the European Parliament Committees on Fisheries and on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.  

  • Catherine Chabaud, French MEP from the Renew Europe group and member of the European Parliament Committees on Fisheries and on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.  

Olga Kikou, Head of Compassion in World Farming EU, will moderate the discussion.  

The event will take place online, on 1 December 2021 from 10:30 to 12:00 CET. Register for the webinar now!


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