8:33 am, August 18, Thursday

Scientific content importance and relevance

Protocol 33 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) was an angular stone in the relations between man and animals. By this act it was recognized that animals are mere property, but being endowed with feelings and as such the European Community and Member States will pay particular attention to ensure their welfare. It is accepted the fact that fish do not suffer, but have emotions – that man will have reason to avoid their negative emotions, respectively must running a stunning procedure before processing.

Information on fish welfare have continuously accumulated over recent years. Europe already outlined recommendations for treatments applied in fish farms, and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) prepare specific rules for fish farms. Moreover, Norway has a law providing standards for fish particular use for experimental and other scientific purposes.

Common policies of the European Commission outlined a strategy aimed at fisheries for sustainable development of European aquaculture, focused on continuous improvement of the fish welfare level in farms.

Internationally, many researches aimed to establish indicators of fish welfare in fisheries and during transport: cortisol levels, haematological parameters (osmolarity), acute phase proteins titer: pro-cerebelines (p24a), transferrin (p37 ), apolipoprotein (p24c, p10.5). A special attention was paid to non-invasive indicators – such as different manifestations of behavior and ventilatory frequency.

Under the aegis of the European Union since January 1, 2006 was started research project FASTFISH, having as main objective to identify useful non-invasive indicators for measuring stress levels in two fish species (Salmo salar and Dicentrarchus labrax), validating these by immunological and physiological analysis, development of a databases: FAST tool for assessing and managing stress levels in aquaculture.

In this context, the present project is salutary, in line with the general trend worldwide, because it try to introduce European welfare assessment systems covering fish and to fill the gaps in national legislation and scientific research on fish welfare issue.

The major objective of the project is to support the efforts of our country to align with EU standards in a large, but less known field concerning life and environment.

After joining EU, Romania’s interest in the development and application of modern agricultural policies compatible with the acquis communautaire in the field registered a sharply increasing. In this general context, it requires a particular need to ensure the framework creation for fish welfare and protection.

Also, we intent to adopt EU methodologies for verification of welfare indicators in laboratory condition, both for fish in farms, and especially during transportation and slaughter, depending on the specific climatic and hydrological conditions. As indicators of fish welfare achievable in laboratory conditions could be mentioned: cardio-vascular activity, hormones assays (ACTH, cortisol), hematological parameters which reveal osmotic pressure and blood pH mantaining.