In 2020, 90.3 million tonnes of fishes were caught worldwide. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) does not count the individual animals, but according to projections by from 2019, this is likely to be up to 2.3 trillion individuals.

Fishes are individuals

fair‑fish would like the fishing industry to address the suffering of individual fishes and minimise it as far as possible. Among other things, this should mean that fishes are only in the fishing gear for a short time and are immediately stunned and killed when out of the water. There are now a number of people and institutions in research and industry that are testing new ideas.

We are part of the Carefish/catch project, in which fair‑fish and four other partners are analysing fishing methods in order to propose improvements in industry and policy.

During the catching process, fishes are subjected to pain, respiratory distress, and stress. And after they have been hoisted on board, the still-living animals are panicked and usually suffocate in agony. Although we already know that rapid stunning and slaughter are very important, the reality of fishing is still a long way off – the welfare of fishes caught in the wild has been severely neglected in practice, research, and policy.

Aims of the project

The Carefish/catch project aims to promote better fishing standards by pursuing 5 main objectives:

  • Assess the impact of fisheries on fish welfare,
  • identify ways to reduce animal suffering for different fishing methods and fish species,
  • analyse the economic and social feasibility of improvements,
  • raise awareness of problems and solutions, and
  • incorporate the findings into a certification process.

The project partners

  • fair‑fish compiles scientific data in the fair‑fish database on fish welfare impacts when they are caught. Profiles for different species and fishing methods show what stresses the animals – and how things can be improved in practice.
  • CCMAR analyses the effects of different fishing methods on the welfare of fishes.
  • FishEthoGroup draws up reports on how the various fishing methods can be improved.
  • Friend of the Sea develops new standards for animal-friendly fishing.
  • DeMoS examines the economic viability of the new standards.

Further information and all the latest news about Carefish/catch can be found on the project website .