1970 - 2003AWIC Resource Series No. 20
Published by:U. S. Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Agricultural Library
Animal Welfare Information Center
Beltsville, Maryland 20705
Contact us: http://awic.nal.usda.gov/contact-us
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How to Use Document
Selected Review Articles
Review of the Literature:
Fish Welfare Related Topics
Fisheries, and Research Related Topics
3. Regulatory Issues
Fish Related Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) Web Resources
Educational Training Materials and Courses
Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) Current Research Information System (CRIS) Reports
Records from the National Agricultural Library Electronic Catalog
Aquaculture and Fisheries Professional Associations, Groups, and Societies
The editor appreciatively acknowledges Dr. Meryl C. Broussard, Chair of the Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture, Animal Section Leader and National Program Leader for Aquaculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), for taking the time to write a thoughtful introduction to this publication.
The editor gratefully acknowledges CRC Press (http://www.crcpress.com/) and Dr. J. D. Rose of the University of Wyoming (http://uwadmnweb.uwyo.edu/Zoology/faculty/Rose/default.htm)
for permission to reprint a key review paper addressing the question of whether
or not fish are capable of pain and suffering. Thanks
also to Dr. Lynne U. Sneddon of the
Thanks is again extended to Dr. Rose for permission to reprint his critique addressing the issue of trout and pain sensation. Gratitude is offered to the American Fisheries Society (AFS; http://www.fisheries.org/) for permission to reprint four of their significant papers and policy statements regarding guidelines for the use of fish in field research. Thanks also to the Institute for Laboratory Animal Research (ILAR; http://dels.nas.edu/ilar/ ), a division of The National Academies National Research Council, for permission to reprint important guidelines for the care and use of fish in research. Gratitude is also extended to the Fisheries Society of the British Isles (FSBI; http://www.le.ac.uk/biology/fsbi/) for permission to reprint their Briefing Paper 2 which provides a comprehensive look at general fish welfare. Thanks is proffered to Dr. V. Thorsteinsson and Concerted Action "Improvements of Tagging Methods for Stock Assessment and Research in Fisheries" (CATAG) (http://www.hafro.is/catag/) for permission to reprint their report regarding fish welfare and health in relation to tagging. And last but not least, appreciation is extended to the Nature Publishing Group (http://npg.nature.com/), Lab Animal (http://www.labanimal.com/), and Drs. M. Matthews, B. Trevarrow, and J. Matthews of the University of Oregon and (http://www.uoregon.edu/) Zebrafish International Research Center (http://zfin.org/zf_info/stckctr/stckctr.html) for permission to reprint key information for the care and use of zebrafish in research. These international and national selected guidelines and review articles, along with the inclusion of the reprint of the AWIC Bulletin article on the responsible care and health maintenance of fish in commercial aquaculture, present a valuable overview of general fish welfare and topic related fish welfare issues relating to the field, aquaculture, and laboratory research.
The editor also gratefully acknowledges Dr. Donald V. Lightner and Kristie A. Vanpatten of The University of Arizona Aquaculture Pathology Laboratory (http://microvet.arizona.edu/research/aquapath/index.htm), for providing the electrophoretic gel picture of polymerase chain reaction products photograph for use on the cover collage. Thanks also to Dr. Bernd Ueberschaer of LarvalBase (http://www.larvalbase.org/) for granting the permission to use C. Kühn’s Gadus morhura egg picture on the cover collage. All other photographs found in the cover collage are modified from photos obtained from the USDA, Agricultural Research Service Photo Library.
The editor would like to thank
Sandra Ball, Barbara
Buchanan, D’Anna Jensen,
Tim Allen and Jean Larson of
are a valuable commodity to the
People whose sports or hobbies involve fish, whose professional
work involves fish, and who are concerned with the general welfare of animals
search for the answers to the questions regarding the consequences of human
activities on fish welfare (FSBI 2002). As you may or may not be aware of, the
topic of fish welfare has been receiving much debate lately in the United
States. This subject is being
discussed related to angling, aquaculture, general neurophysiology, fisheries,
laboratory research, aquariums, and regulation, with the issue of whether
or not fish feel pain at the forefront.
This increase in public concern is witnessed by numerous web sites,
commentaries and reports, not only in the
Laws, government policies, procedures, and protocols that require humane treatment of animals for all uses (e.g. Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq.)), Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals originally by the National Institutes of Health and revised by the National Research Council (1996), Policy on the Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals by the Public Health Service (PHS; 1997), and federally mandated "institutional animal care and use committees" (IACUC) came about due to trepidations regarding the welfare and use of animals in biomedical laboratory research. These research projects are thus reviewed to make sure that projects using animals are necessary and conducted as humanely as possible.
Evaluation of animal well-being should be based on subtle behavioral and physiological changes as well as established environmental limits (FSBI 2002). Because fish are different in ways that are important when considering their welfare, including species, body temperature, stocking densities, vulnerability to poor or polluted water quality, and context dependent characteristics, it can be deceptive to extrapolate from what we know about the welfare of mammals and birds to fish, (FSBI 2002). Therefore, common criteria for welfare of other vertebrate animals should be modified to include fish related criteria, as listed above, before welfare criteria can be usefully applied to fish (FSBI 2002).
The optimum health requirements for major farm-raised species are known. However, requirements for other species are being determined by ongoing research that aims at defining the unique limits of each. Consequently, the amount of information available concerning health requirements varies considerably depending on the species. An understanding of the health requirements for a species increases with the length of time it is commercially cultured and its economic importance. We know much more about how to evaluate the well-being of traditionally cultured species, such as channel catfish, goldfish, fathead minnows, golden shiners, rainbow trout, various ornamentals, and zebrafish than we do about newer culture species.
Respect, for all forms and systems of life, is an intrinsic attribute of scientists and managers who conduct any type of research on fish. The respectful treatment of wild and cultured fishes in research is both an ethical and a scientific necessity (AFS Policy Statements #16, 22, 30) Traumatized animals (including fish) may show signs of abnormal physiological, behavioral, and ecological responses that defeat the purposes of the investigation (AFS Policy Statements #16, 22, 30). Because of the very considerable range of adaptive diversity and husbandry requirements represented by the over 20,000 species of fishes, no concise or specific compendium of approved methods and guidelines for fish research is practical or desirable (AFS Policy Statements #16, 22, 30, DeTolla et al. 1995). The attainment of new knowledge and understanding comprises a major justification for any investigation, with the definitive responsibility for the ethical and scientific validity of an investigation and the methods employed resting with the investigator (AFS Policy Statements #16, 22, 30, DeTolla et al. 1995).
Presently, the Animal Welfare Act does not cover cold-blooded vertebrates. In response to the 1985 amendment to the Animal Welfare Act, that extended principles of humane laboratory animal care to field research activities, the American Fisheries Society – in cooperation with the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, and the American Institute of Fishery Research Biologists – developed and published the “Guidelines for Use of Fishes in Field Research” (Nickum 1988) to build on and extend these ethical guidelines to the field, thus promoting the conduct of all fisheries work in a humane manner that eliminates cruelty and minimizes suffering (AFS Policy Statements #16).
PHS funded institutions, the Guide
covers all vertebrate species, but the specific use of fish and other cold
blooded species is not addressed.
Even though the Guide and PHS
Policy do not provide guidelines for
the use of laboratory fish, the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW)
states, ‘Many of the principles embodied in the Guide, although not specifically
addressing cold-blooded vertebrates, generally can be adapted to animal care and
use programs for various kinds of amphibians, reptiles, and fishes (1996)’ (Matthews
et al. 2002). All institutions
are expected to care for and use fish in research in a manner judged to be
professionally and humanely appropriate for the particular species in question
(DeTolla et al. 1995).
Although fish differ from both warm-blooded and other cold-blooded
species, like their endothermic counterparts they need to be maintained in a
controlled environment with a limitation on stress (DeTolla et al.
To assist persons using fish in all types of research, numerous reviews and guidelines have been prepared by various experts in each of the fields. The American Fisheries Society has put out several policy statements regarding the use of fish in general and in field research. Thorsteinsson (2002 ) published a report on fish welfare and health related to tagging methods for fish research. Schwedler and Johnson (2000) produced an article discussing the responsible husbandry of fish in commercial aquaculture. DeTolla et al. (1995) published guidelines for the care and use of fish in research. Westerfield (2000) published the guide for the laboratory use of zebrafish, which was followed up by Matthews et al. (2002) who published a review of the Guide for zebrafish care and users. As a general look at the current state of fish welfare, FSBI (2002) produced a report addressing general fish welfare. The Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) has posted its second draft of CCAC guidelines on: the care and use of fish in research, testing, and teaching. The guidelines are available at the CCAC webpage (http://www.ccac.ca/en/CCAC_Programs/Guidelines_Policies/GDLINES/Guidelis.htm).
As the concerns about fish welfare are heating up and not all information can be easily obtained in one source. The Information Resources on Fish Welfare has been designed to provide the most current worldwide data available regarding fish welfare for use by both those who have knowledge in one of the various fish related fields or may even be professionals in a fish related field, as well as for individuals who are interested in learning more about fish welfare issues. This publication does not present an opinion on the subject but is rather a comprehensive review of the available information resources regarding fish welfare and its related issues. In this timely publication, AWIC, in cooperation with various authors and publishing houses, provides twelve national and international current review articles and guidelines, which cover the topics of general fish welfare, pain and awareness related to fish, and fish welfare related to aquaculture, laboratory and field research, and fisheries. In addition to the review articles, a thorough review of the literature (including citations with abstracts and web sites) is presented, including the following topics: 1) general fish welfare related topics: alternatives; anesthesia and euthanasia; awareness, cognitive ability, and fear; pain and distress; and health and welfare; 2) culture, fisheries, and research related topics: angling; aquaculture; fisheries; laboratory; aquarium fishes (including general topics, ornamentals, dealers, and pet shops); and selected husbandry topics (including animal domestication, harvest and slaughter, holding and transport, and tagging); and 3) regulatory issues (including a table of national and international animal welfare acts related to fish). As an additional resource for institutional animal care and use committees (IACUC), a section on fish related IACUC web resources are provided. Educational training materials and courses are presented for those wishing to delve further into educating themselves and their facility employees about fish welfare.
AWIC presents this material to provide the various fish communities and regulatory agencies worldwide a comprehensive resource on fish welfare. As this publication does not present an opinion regarding fish welfare, we at USDA AWIC hope that the national and international readers (producers, researchers, IACUC members, government representatives, aquarists, and general public) will use the scientifically based guidelines and information to answer the questions regarding the impact of human activities on fish welfare in his or her field, for his or her species, and to act accordingly to prepare and follow humane procedures for the care and husbandry of aquatic animals. This publication is also presented as a resource for United States Federal Government grant applicants and awardees that will use fish in their proposed research.
AFS Policy Statement #16. American Fisheries Society (AFS), American
Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), and American
Institute of Fishery Research Biologists (AIFRE) (1987) Guidelines for the Use of
Fishes in Field Research. Approved
AFS Policy Statement #22. Robinette, H Randall (Chair); Hynes, Julian;
Parker, Nick C; Putz, Robert; Stevens, Robert E; and Stickney, Robert R (1990)
ABBREVIATED, AFS Policy Statement #22: Commercial Aquaculture. Approved Aug 1990,
AFS Policy Statement #30.
ASIH, AFS, AIFRB (1988) Guidelines for Use of
Fishes in Field Research. Fisheries 13(2): 16-23.
Animal Welfare Act and Regulations
DeTolla LJ, Srinivas S, Whitaker
BR, Andrews C, Hecker B, Kane AS, Reimschuessel R (1995). Guidelines for the Care and Use of
Fish in Research. ILAR
Evans DH, editor (1993) The Physiology of
FSBI (2002) Fish Welfare. Briefing Paper 2, Fisheries Society of the British Isles, Granta Information Systems, 82A High Street, Sawston, Cambridge, CB2 4H, Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1223 830665. Email: FSBI@grantais.demon.co.uk
Goodrich MS (1990) Techniques in Using Aquatic
Animals in Biomedical Research. Workshop 6A/B, 41st Annual Meeting
of the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS),
Matthews M, Trevarrow B, Matthews J (2002) A
Virtual Tour of the Guide for Zebrafish Care and Users.
Lab Animal 31(3):34-40
Nickum, JG (1988) Guidelines for Use of Fishes in Field Research. Fisheries 13(2):16–23.
Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (1996) Public
Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.
Post G (1987) Revised and Expanded Textbook of Fish Health. NJ: TFH Publications.
Powers DA (1989) Fish as Model Systems. Science 246:352-358.
Public Health Service (1997) Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science. 36, 47-5
Rose JD (2003) A critique of paper: "Do Fish have Nociceptors: Evidence for the Evolution of a Vertebrate Sensory System" published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, 2003 by Sneddon, Braithwaite, and Gentle.
Rose JD (2002) The Neurobehavioral Nature of Fishes and the Question of Awareness and Pain. Reviews in Fisheries Science. 10(1):1-38
Stoskopf MK, editor (1993) Fish Medicine.
Thorsteinsson V (2002) Tagging Methods
for Stock Assessment and Research in Fisheries. Report of Concerted Action
FAIR CT.96.1394 (CATAG).
Westerfield M (2000) The Zebrafish Book. A Guide for
the Laboratory Use of Zebrafish Danio (Brachydanio)
This publication is a comprehensive review of the available information resources regarding fish welfare and its related issues. Bibliography citations are arranged alphabetically according to the last name of the primary author. Each entry also contains abstracts, if available, descriptors, and the NAL call number if the record was retrieved from the National Agricultural Library=s Agricola database. If the full-text of the article/resource is available on the WWW, the URL is provided. At the end of each subsection are listings of World Wide Web sites that will provide additional information on the topic. Readers are cautioned as to the dynamic nature of the internet and the fact that addresses and content are subject to change. Web addresses are current as of September 2003.
This document is divided into seven sections: 1) introduction, 2) selected key review articles, 3) a comprehensive review of the literature available in electronic databases, 4) fish related institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) web resources, 5) current educational training materials and courses, 6) Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) Current Research Information System Reports (CRIS), and 7) additional records from the National Agricultural Library Electronic Catalog.
This document also contains a list of aquaculture and fisheries professional associations, groups, and societies including their web addresses.
Selected Review Articles
Twelve key review articles written by national and international experts in various topics relating to fish welfare are included in this section. Each article concludes with a list of references cited by the author.
Review of the Literature
The selected records in this section were compiled from multiple sources and numerous databases including, but not limited to Agricola, Medline, NTIS, AGRIS, CAB International, BIOSIS, and ASFA databases. Citations listed in this section may or may not overlap with articles cited by the introductory authors. Each section also has relevant websites that will provide additional material not found in journals or databases. World Wide Web addresses are listed to access specialized databases, extension materials, and publications produced by a variety of non-profit organizations.
Fish Related Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (IACUC) Web Resources
The selected relevant materials regarding fish welfare in research and the IACUC in this section were compiled from the internet. The URLs are listed to access specialized databases and linkages, extension materials, and publications produced by a variety of non-profit organizations.
Educational Training Materials and Courses
The selected relevant educational training materials and courses in this section were compiled from multiple sources and the internet. Those materials cited also have relevant websites listed that will provide additional information regarding the educational training materials or courses.
Records in this section were retrieved from the Current Research Information System maintained by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. CRIS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) documentation and reporting system for ongoing and recently completed research projects in agriculture, food and nutrition, and forestry. Projects are conducted or sponsored by USDA research agencies, state agricultural experiment stations, the state land‑grant university system, other cooperating state institutions, and participants in a number of USDA research grant programs. It is available on the web at http://cris.csrees.usda.gov/.
National Agricultural Library Electronic Catalog
Generally, this resource is closely related to Agricola. However, some relevant materials not appearing in the Agricola database were retrieved and included here.
Aquaculture and Fisheries Professional Associations, Groups and Societies
This section contains a list of topic related professional societies and groups available from electronic sources. The URL is listed below each citation and should be accessed to obtain further contact information for the individual professional society or group.
National Agricultural Library Document Delivery Information
Information on how to obtain copies of articles mentioned in the bibliography are available from the National Agricultural Library http://www.nal.usda.gov/nal-services/request-library-materials.
March 11, 2013