If suitable species are farmed appropriately, aquaculture could be an alternative to the ruthless exploitation of marine resources and to industrial fishing, which often prioritises something other than the welfare of fishes and sustainability. Around 100 billion fishes currently live in farms around the world – and fish farms face the challenge of improving the quality of life for their fishes.

The aim of fair‑fish is the species-appropriate, animal-friendly, and environmentally friendly production of edible fish that can be used in moderation to supplement the human diet. We obtain our knowledge of whether the needs of fishes in captivity can be met from our fair‑fish database, whose recommendations form the basis of our statements and our consultations.

In favour of ethical fish farming

Organic standards take the welfare of the fishes and a life that is as species-appropriate as possible into account. The organic guidelines require, among other things, natural substrate, relatively low stocking densities, very limited use of medication, and certified organic feed. Finally, they stipulate ethical stunning and slaughter methods and thus offer alternatives to conventional intensive fish farming.

fair‑fish recommends organic standards, but because organic standards apply only to a few selected species and are not always detailed enough, fair‑fish also recommends to see for yourself how the fishes are kept.

fair‑fish is currently involved in two aquaculture projects: Carefish/farm and Aquaculture Consultancy in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Aquaculture is often seen as a good alternative to fishery, and the industry hopes that it will both secure food for people and stop the reckless overfishing of the oceans.

What has received too little attention to date is, on the one hand, the answer to the question of which fishes are suitable for aquaculture and, on the other hand, how the animals can be kept in a species-appropriate manner.

In the Carefish/farm project, we have been dedicated to improving the situation for fishes and other aquatic creatures in aquaculture since 2017.

Aims of the project

  • Development and dissemination of scientific findings,
  • Development of fish welfare criteria for the „Friend of the Sea“ label
  • Training for auditors who check the fish welfare guidelines and
  • Courses on species-appropriate husbandry for aquaculture operators

Project partners

  • In the fair‑fish database, fair‑fish provides profiles on the welfare of fishes in aquaculture and the possibilities of implementing species-appropriate husbandry.
  • Together with fair‑fish, FishEthoGroup developed the scientific basis for fish welfare guidelines in aquaculture for the international „Friend of the Sea“ label. FishEthoGroup develop the courses and training programmes, publish scientific studies, and attend international congresses.

Consultancy for species-appropriate husbandry

fair‑fish has developed an innovative advisory concept to improve the welfare of farmed fishes.

The ProCare Foundation supported fair‑fish in 2023 to develop ideas that inspire and support fish farmers in creating better living conditions for their animals. fair‑fish is now starting implementation immediately (as of May 2024) thanks to renewed support, even though further funding for the two-year project is still lacking.

We are on the ground
We sit down with operators of small and medium-sized fish farms and develop individualised proposals to improve the conditions in which the animals are kept. Naturally, we select the measures that are most beneficial to the welfare of the fishes. We accompany the implementation and monitor its success.

We provide know-how
fair‑fish provides easy-to-understand information on a platform for species-appropriate farming. It supplements the knowledge of fish farmers and quickly brings them up to date.

We help researchers
We maintain an exchange with research institutes that specialise in aquaculture and species-appropriate husbandry. The experience gained from the consultations flows directly to the researchers. And supports them in developing successful experiments whose results are relevant to practice.

We seek the public
We offer our knowledge and experience in lectures and presentations for universities, fisheries authorities, politicians, and others. We use virtual reality-based learning modules that are fun and motivate people to put them into practice.

We advise politicians and others
As the voice of fishes, fair‑fish wants to support legislation together with practitioners and researchers in order to find satisfactory solutions. It is already clear to fair‑fish that there is an urgent need to extend the Animal Welfare Act to include more fish species and to take account of different breeding systems.

Would you like advice on your breeding? Get in touch with us!

Yannick Rohrer
Project Manager Research Transfer Fish Welfare
Mail: yannick@fair‑