Operationaliseren bedwelmen van gevangen zeevissen: zorgen voor en borgen van een beter dierenwelzijn
Due to societal developments there is a need for the fishing industry to become more sustainable with regard to
technologies used on-board to process captured fish. Animal welfare is one of the themes of sustainability.
Discomfort caused by processing of live fish on-board can be minimized by stunning fish prior to killing them.
Stunning is rendering fish unconscious and insensible without avoidable discomfort. Insensibility is required to
ensure that unconscious fish cannot be aroused. Contrary to publications in various media in the Netherlands,
electrical stunning of captured sea fish, such as plaice, it not ready for use on board a fishing vessel.
An inventory study in 2018 among Dutch consumers suggests that 72% of the respondents believe that the welfare of
fish should be safeguarded in the same vein as other food animals. The inventory study also showed a possible
willingness to pay 20% more as a premium price for such a fish product.
Given the fact that demersal fish are the major target species of the Netherlands fishing cutters, we decided to focus
our research on this type of fishery. Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) and turbot (Scophthalmus maximus) are
economically important species and, therefore, these species have been selected for our proposed project. To
improve welfare of these fish species at slaughter on board we aim to: 1) operationalize stunning of captured plaice
and turbot prior to killing them; 2) to ensure that the product originates from a vessel that has put stunning of the fish
species into practice by assurance of the supply chain; 3) assist consumers to make an informed choice with regard to
fish that was stunned prior to killing on board and a regular sea fish product by the use of for instance the VISwijzer
(Fish Guide) App on a mobile phone; 4) perform an inventory study to assess possibilities to valorize sea fish
products that originate from a fishing vessel that stuns fish on board prior to killing them; and 5) contribute to
support by stakeholders regarding fish welfare at slaughter and to disseminate our results for use in education and
utilization on board. We envisage that our contribution to support by stakeholders together with the activities for
dissemination are needed to make our project a blue print for fishing companies that are not part of our consortium.