This paper reviews the impact on fish welfare of a wide range of slaughter methods used commercially around the world. Because the end result of the slaughter is a food product, and because of the well-known relationship between an animal's welfare and subsequent meat quality, the effects of the slaughter methods on the quality of the flesh are also reviewed where possible. Fish slaughter methods are incredibly diverse, but fall into two broad categories: those that induce loss of sensibility slowly, and those that achieve this rapidly. This paper shows that, in general, the methods that induce loss of sensibility over a long period of time tend to impinge more on the welfare of the animal and are detrimental to the overall quality of the carcass. Methods that cause a rapid loss of sensibility result in the best welfare, providing that they are carried out correctly. They may also produce the highest quality product from the stock of fish.
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