The project


In modern aquaculture, fish are exposed to farming-inherent stressors that can be detrimental to animal health and welfare. However, it is increasingly clear that stress reactions are different for each individual and therefore, individuality should be included in the concept of animal welfare. The main aim of the WIN-FISH project is to investigate the relevance of fish individuality when assessing fish welfare and performance under different culture conditions.

trout pond

The WIN-FISH project will validate behavioral and physiological welfare indicators for European seabass, gilthead sea bream and rainbow trout at the individual and rearing unit level using fish of different stress coping styles (SCS).This will generate new information about responses to environmental factors, knowledge that can be applied to improve husbandry and management practices.

Hirtshals facilities

Recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)

Modern recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) related-stressors such as higher rearing densities and water quality parameters may challenge the welfare of fish. In WIN-FISH, health, welfare and production related effects of RAS rearing of sea bass and sea bream kept at different densities will be monitored. In order to account for individual variation, these studies will be performed on fish screened for SCS. Similarly, in flow through systems, health, welfare and production related effects of rearing densities will be further investigated in sea bream differing in SCS.

Environmental enrichment

It is also known that, in general, environmental enrichment has positive effects on animal welfare. WIN-FISH will investigate effects of environmental enrichment on rainbow trout with contrasting SCS.

Genetic markers

In an attempt to generate genetic markers for selective breeding to optimize performance and welfare of farmed Atlantic salmon, a genome-wide association analysis will be performed on salmon with divergent SCS, focusing on proactive fish differing in aggressive behavior. Finally, zebrafish will be used as a model to gain additional knowledge on physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying SCS and aggressive behavior.

23 JANUARY 2020