Pascoli, Francesco (2012) Welfare assessment in sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) reared under organic aquaculture. [Ph.D. thesis]
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During the last years, fish welfare is receiving increasing attention in public and therefore in the world of research, industry and governments. In aquaculture, fishes are often exposed to stress conditions, due to practices such as manipulation, grading, high stocking densities, transport, pre-slaughter conditions and slaughter methods. In order to reduce this stressors and to increase both fish welfare and production needs, it is seeking to introduce organic agriculture principles to the conventional aquaculture. Organic aquaculture is still relatively new in concept and development all over the World. Consumers expect organic producers to follow higher animal welfare standards. In this study, fish welfare was investigated in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) reared under organic aquaculture in a standard commercial farm, comparing it with a parallel conventional farming. At the beginning of the trial, the main difference between the two rearing systems was in the diet. Welfare was evaluated through different stress and immunological parameters, besides growing performances. Particularly, stress response was evaluated through the analysis of both serum and muscle cortisol, and oxidative stress was investigated with an histochemical (melanomacrophage centres count and relative pigments content) and an immunohistochemical approach, using an antibody anti-HNE (a lipid peroxidation marker), besides glutathione analysis. Hematological and innate immunity parameters was also carried out, such as hematocrit, leucocrit and serum lysozyme activity. The aims of the study were to investigate both differences in fish welfare between the two rearing systems and the seasonal variations of the parameters carried out. Concerning differences between rearing systems, this study highlighted a different growing trend, in which conventional fishes were longer and heavier than organic ones. On the other hand, stress and immunological parameters didn’t show any significant differences, if not in some samplings, suggesting that more severe conditions may be required to affect these activities. Since this was a monitoring study on a commercial farming, potential differences in the investigated parameters may have been mitigated, as the two systems didn’t differed so pronounced.
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Negli ultimi anni, il benessere dei pesci o “fish welfare” sta ricevendo crescente attenzione nel pubblico e quindi nel mondo della ricerca, dell'industria e dei governi. In acquacoltura, i pesci sono spesso esposti a condizioni di stress, a causa di pratiche di allevamento come la manipolazione, la selezione, l’alta densità di allevamento, il trasporto, le condizioni di pre-macellazione e i metodi di macellazione. Al fine di ridurre questo stress e per aumentare sia il benessere dei pesci sia le esigenze di produzione, si sta cercando di introdurre i principi dell'agricoltura biologica nell’acquacoltura tradizionale. L'acquacoltura biologica è un concetto ancora relativamente nuovo nel mondo dell’acquacoltura. I consumatori si aspettano che i produttori biologici seguano standard più elevati per quanto riguarda il benessere animale.
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