The current way of trawl fishing on cod and haddock leads to exhaustion, injuries and suffocation of the fish. The objective of this study was to identify whether there is a way to improve well-being of cod and haddock without economic losses to the fishermen.
Fish can be considered sentient beings and should therefore be treated in a humane way. The current way of trawl fishing on cod and haddock leads to exhaustion, injuries and suffocation of the fish, which can be considered non-humane treatment. The fishermen might be able to implement changes in trawling to improve the well-being of cod and haddock, but for fishermen their economic balance is of more priority than well-being of their catch. The objective of this study was to identify whether there is a way to improve well-being of cod and haddock without economic losses to the fishermen.
Well-being can be assessed by multiplying the inputs Number of animals involved, Duration of the harmful event and Severity of suffering. The input Severity was given a definition by the function-, the nature- and the feelings based approach and simultaneously by looking at codes of practice in other animal production industries. A literature study on Number, Duration and Severity of suffering during five separate steps of trawling showed that ‘towing’ is the fishing step with the highest impact on well-being of cod and haddock. A system description of towing was made on basis of production data from a Norwegian fisher in 2011, showing interrelating effects between different costs, revenue and catch statistics. It can be concluded that shortening towing time and lowering towing speed are options that could improve well-being of cod and haddock in trawl fishing without making investments. Such options however might include a decline in total fish catch and revenues of fishermen. There are opportunities to increase the revenue again as higher well-being of fish might lead to selling fish in a higher price segment. In future research the practical knowledge of fishermen should be deployed to investigate the relationship between well-being of cod and haddock and the product quality of the fish, in order to develop codes of practice for humane treatment of cod and haddock in a way that is economically interesting for fishermen.
Student: WH Pauw
Supervisors: L Veldhuizen, MSc
dr ir EAM Bokkers