Aquaculture research project secures funding to improve farmed fish welfare in Thailand and Vietnam

Responsible Seafood Advocate

Funding to help researchers enhance fish quality and improve resources for fish farmers in key areas

fish welfare
The University of Stirling has secured major funding to improve farmed fish welfare in Thailand and Vietnam, with the aim of enhancing the quality of fish for human consumption. Photo courtesy of the University of Stirling.

The University of Stirling has secured funding to improve farmed fish welfare in Thailand and Vietnam, with the aim of enhancing the quality of fish for human consumption. The Institute of Aquaculture has been awarded £780,000 (U.S. $919,000) for the project from Open Philanthropy.

The funding will help researchers improve resources for fish farmers in areas where the fish that is produced is eaten locally and where there are some of the largest concentrations of the production and consumption of farmed fish and shellfish globally.

“Across Asia, there are serious welfare issues that affect millions of aquatic animals and there is an urgent need to drive change,” said Dave Little, deputy head of the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling and one of the researchers leading the project. “This significant research funding will help tackle these issues and we hope it will vastly improve aquatic animal welfare, result in fewer losses, produce a higher standard of meat, and boost the economy.”

The two-year research project will support “transformational change” in the welfare of farmed fish across the continent. Interventions will have the potential to avoid unnecessary harm and pain to the fish, help farmers improve efficiency and business resilience, support a sustainable environment, contribute to a healthier general population and combat poverty and hunger.

To accomplish this, the team will map opportunities for improved welfare, establish networks of stakeholders, support education and advocacy, research into delivering improvements and removing barriers and develop guidelines. Outcomes will be disseminated through videos, podcasts, course materials and a resource website, publicized through social media channels and relevant publications.

A key element of the project will be supporting local researchers and working closely with other stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to improving fish welfare practically while raising awareness and interest among consumers. The work will fund and support the development of the most promising small projects in both countries to help achieve these goals.

Moreover, the project will also make a fully funded MSc scholarship to study at the Institute of Aquaculture available to Thai and Vietnamese citizens, harnessing and growing the potential of local talent to continue working in this area in the future.

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