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Addressing the welfare needs of farmed lumpfish: Knowledge gaps, challenges and solutions

Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, Carolina Gutierrez Rabadan Orcid Logo, Sara Da Silva Pires Marques Barrento, Rebecca Stringwell Orcid Logo, Paul N. Howes, Ben A. Whittaker Orcid Logo, Jessica F. Minett Orcid Logo, Robert G. Smith, Craig L. Pooley, Ben J. Overland, Leigh Biddiscombe, Richard Lloyd, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo, Jake K. Maddocks, Paul T. J. Deacon, Ben T. Jennings, Sonia Rey Planellas Orcid Logo, Amanda Deakin Orcid Logo, Amber I. Moore, Daniel. Phillips, Guillermo Bardera Orcid Logo, Maria F. Castanheira Orcid Logo, Maria Scolamacchia Orcid Logo, Nancy Clarke Orcid Logo, Ollie Parker, John Avizienius, Malcolm Johnstone, Michalis Pavlidis Orcid Logo

Reviews in Aquaculture, Volume: 14, Issue: 1, Pages: 139 - 155

Swansea University Authors: Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, Sara Da Silva Pires Marques Barrento, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

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DOI (Published version): 10.1111/raq.12589

Abstract

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) are increasingly being used as cleaner fish to control parasitic sea lice, one of the most important threats to salmon farming. However, lumpfish cannot survive feeding solely on sea lice, and their mortality in salmon net-pens can be high, which has welfare, ethical...

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Published in: Reviews in Aquaculture
ISSN: 1753-5123 1753-5131
Published: Wiley 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59980
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Abstract: Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L.) are increasingly being used as cleaner fish to control parasitic sea lice, one of the most important threats to salmon farming. However, lumpfish cannot survive feeding solely on sea lice, and their mortality in salmon net-pens can be high, which has welfare, ethical and economic implications. The industry is under increasing pressure to improve the welfare of lumpfish, but little guidance exists on how this can be achieved. We undertook a knowledge gap and prioritisation exercise using a Delphi approach with participants from the fish farming sector, animal welfare, academia and regulators to assess consensus on the main challenges and potential solutions for improving lumpfish welfare. Consensus among participants on the utility of 5 behavioural and 12 physical welfare indicators was high (87–89%), reliable (Cronbach's alpha = 0.79, 95CI = 0.69–0.92) and independent of participant background. Participants highlighted fin erosion and body damage as the most useful and practical operational welfare indicators, and blood parameters and behavioural indicators as the least practical. Species profiling revealed profound differences between Atlantic salmon and lumpfish in relation to behaviour, habitat preferences, nutritional needs and response to stress, suggesting that applying a common set of welfare standards to both species cohabiting in salmon net-pens may not work well for lumpfish. Our study offers 16 practical solutions for improving the welfare of lumpfish and illustrates the merits of the Delphi approach for achieving consensus among stakeholders on welfare needs, targeting research where is most needed and generating workable solutions.
Keywords: cleaner fish, Delphi expert assessment, feeding rations, habitat preferences, operational welfare indicators, Salmon farming
College: College of Science
Funders: ERDF WEFO. Grant Number: SMARTAQUA; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Grant Number: ARCH-UK; Universities Federation for Animal Welfare; Ocean Matters; The Scottish Salmon Company; BioMar; INTERREG Atlantic Area. Grant Number: Access2Sea;
Issue: 1
Start Page: 139
End Page: 155