NEW research funding worth £1.7 million is aimed at improving the welfare of fish, crustaceans and cephalopods at slaughter.
The project, under the auspices of the Humane Slaughter Association (HSA), will include farmed fish, crustaceans such as crabs and lobsters, and cephalopods (octopus, cuttlefish and squid).
There are increasing concerns about the welfare of these species worldwide but there is a lack of practical and scientifically validated humane stunning methods for them.
The HSA wants to support the development of humane stunning methods which will preclude the possibility of these animals experiencing pain or distress at the time of slaughter.
HSA’s chief executive and scientific director, Dr Robert Hubrecht, said: ‘There is good evidence that we need to be concerned about the welfare of fish, and perhaps also for some cephalopods and crustacea.
‘This evidence has already resulted in the introduction of legislation, in various countries, to protect fish welfare around slaughter, but the legislation is limited, and more knowledge is needed.
‘The HSA hopes that this new substantial funding will lead to significant improvements in the welfare at slaughter of fish and also cephalopods and crustacea.’
The funding for the research is the result of a donation from an organisation which wishes to remain anonymous.
The HSA is now seeking applications from academic institutions, commercial companies or any other organisation suitably qualified to carry out the research.
Applications from consortia where, for instance, academic and industrial partners collaborate on a project, will also be welcome.
The project(s) should identify and/or validate a method for stunning of farmed finfish, crustaceans or cephalopods undergoing a typical commercial scale harvest, which is humane (causes the minimum pain, suffering or distress); commercially viable and practical, so that the method is likely to be adopted by industry.
Applicants may apply for some or all of the funding and applications can be combined if applicants wish to address the humane slaughter of both crustaceans and cephalopods.
The HSA may divide the award/funds between two or more proposals. The deadline for submission of concept notes is May 31.
For further information see www.hsa.org.uk/grants-awards.