ENRICH Fish

ENRICH Fish (Using optimised environmental enrichment to improve the rearing conditions and welfare of Atlantic salmon in relation to the Three Rs) is a project financed by the Research Council of Norway to improve the rearing conditions and welfare of Atlantic salmon used in laboratory experiments. This two-year project started in March 2015.

The project consists of three parts:

  1. Evaluation and development of methods for physical enrichment, including the use of shelter, substrates in the tank and alteration of environmental factors such as water level, current speed and light intensity
  2. Efforts to provide social enrichment by optimising group size and investigating the effect of changing rearing unit volume on acclimation and behaviour
  3. Construction of a multi-stakeholder platform for synergy, recommendations and dissemination of results. This part includes two annual workshops.

The first public stakeholder meeting organised by the ENRICH Fish project was held on 6 April 2016 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Oslo. Presentations from the meeting:

Social enrichment and requirements for the tank rearing of Atlantic salmon (Jonaton Nilsson)

Social enrichment for Atlantic salmon (Jonatan Nilsson) 

Enrichment in the Directive and what this means for fish (Penny Hawkins)

What can Norecopa do for fish researchers? (Adrian Smith)

Although ENRICH-Fish is designed to improve the rearing conditions and welfare of Atlantic salmon used in applied laboratory experiments, it is expected that the results will also be highly relevant to the containment and welfare of fish in other situations, whether it be in the laboratory or in commercial settings.

Updates on the project

19 February 2016:
The experiments in work package 2.1 ("Optimization of group size for animal experimentation with group-living salmon") have now been completed for the three lifestages (pre-smolts, smolts and post-smolt). Welfare parameters including behaviour, skin and fin damage, performance and cortisol levels have been documented in fish reared at different group sizes/stocking densities.
Salmon are often aggressive in small groups, which may have negative impact on fish welfare and the quality of the research. Data from the experiments will be analysed to find the minimum group size which show similar behaviour and performance to large groups, to balance "Reduction" with "Refinement".

26 April 2016:
The experiment in work package 2.2 ("Effect of changing rearing unit volume on acclimation and behaviour of salmon pre-smolts") has been started. In this experiment, we will document how long the acclimation period is after salmon parr are transferred to new (experimental) tanks, and specifically how the duration of the acclimation period is affected by the change in rearing volume. Fish have been transferred to smaller, similar or larger tanks, and appetite is monitored frequently to see how the fish adapt to the new tanks.

February 2017:
The second and final open meeting, presenting the results of the project, will be held both in Bergen and Tromsø, on 22 and 23 February, respectively. The programme can be downloaded here. In addition to specific information about environmental enrichment in fish, two of the Advisory Group members will hold more general presentations on these subjects:

Enrichment: the concept and comparative aspects (Dr. Cecilie Mejdell, Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Oslo)

European legislation on environmental enrichment: what this means for fish (Dr. Penny Hawkins, RSPCA, UK)

The meetings are free of charge, but registration is required: please register by 17 February to adrian.smith@norecopa.no.

The project is managed by:

Chris Noble, Nofima (project leader)

Bjørn-Steinar Sæther, Nofima

Atle Mortensen, Nofima

Velmurugu Puvanendran, Nofima

Ole Folkedal, Institute for Marine Research

Jonatan Nilsson, Institute for Marine Research

Adrian Smith, Norecopa

Advisory Group:

Hernan Canon Jones, University of Chile

Penny Hawkins, RSPCA

Cecilie Mejdell, Norwegian Veterinary Institute

Stephanie Yue-Cottee, Cargill Meat Solutions

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