«Mediterranean Fish Welfare: Guide to Good Practices and Assessment Indicators» has been approved by the Directorate of Animal Protection and Veterinary Drugs in the Ministry of Rural Development and Food.
- Published by the University of Crete’s Biology Department, in cooperation with HAPO’s Technical Committee
- Is presently the National Directive in Aquaculture
The pioneering initiative for the formulation of the Mediterranean Fish Welfare Guide was carried out by the University of Crete’s Biology Department, in conjunction with HAPO’s Technical Committee.
The guide has been approved and ratified by the Directorate of Animal Protection — under the Directorate General of Veterinary Services — of the Ministry of Rural Development and Food and is now the national directive in the aquaculture sector.
Thanks to the accumulation and proper classification of all relevant knowledge and methodology offered by the Mediterranean Fish Welfare Guide, HAPO is proven to be a pioneer in establishing best practices, not only in fish farming, but also in the field of animal production. It’s worth noting that this particular guide is the first step in HAPO’s long-term plan of action to create national guides in each field of operation within aquaculture, in close collaboration with Greece’s scientific and academic communities.
Chairman of HAPO’s BOD, Mr. Apostolos Touralias, said: “Our Organization is prioritizing sustainable development practices and the protection of the environment. Within this framework, the welfare of fish in our units is of paramount importance to us and a central feature of our ethos as an industry. With our initiative to assist the University of Crete in creating a national Fish Welfare Guide, certified by the State, we reaffirm our commitment to produce fish of top-tier quality and high nutritional value, with full respect to their characteristics as living beings.”
Dr. Katerina Marinou, Director of Ministry’s Directorate of Animal Protection and Veterinary Drugs said: “This Guide is of great importance, as it sets out specific criteria for assessing the well-being of farmed fish based on modern and reliable scientific data, while also laying the groundwork for future national and EU welfare regulations. The Ministry has set the protection of fish farms a priority, reflected in the creation of a volunteer working group within one of the Committee’s existing group of experts called “Platform toward proper animal welfare,” under the Presidency of our country, for the purpose of collecting technical information submitted to the European Commission on the welfare of farmed fish in aquaculture.
This subgroup issued general guidelines on water quality and fish handling, which are in full accord with the contents of the Fish Welfare Guide and were approved by the Platform and posted on a relevant European Commission website.
Therefore, fish welfare in Greek aquaculture may now be ensured through the use of this Welfare Guide, and our country can remain a pioneer in this very important sector of the agricultural economy.”
Michalis Pavlidis, Professor at the University of Crete’s Biology Department and member of the guide’s working group noted: “With great responsibility and satisfaction, the Fish Physiology Laboratory research team of the University of Crete’s Biology Department undertook the compilation of the best practices Guide for the welfare of sea bass and sea bream in intensive production conditions. I say ‘great responsibility’ because this is the first published welfare guide for these species and the third, globally, after other guides were released for salmon and trout in 2018 and 2020, respectively. We are satisfied because this guide is a product stemming from our partnership with the Hellenic Aquaculture Producers Organization, something that highlights their keen interest in adopting administrative practices that improve the well-being and welfare of the fish they nurture.”