Fish health in pounds and pence
We are all what we eat. There is no doubt that fish health is affected by what we feed the fish. As a minimum, fish must have nutrients that cover their need for energy, growth and maintenance. If these needs are not covered, the fish will stop growing and may develop deficiency diseases.
Fish health is more than just a challenge for fish welfare. Poor fish health can have a substantial effect on production results and slaughter quality.
In 2011, an extensive mapping project was carried out of the wastage in the sea phase which showed that a substantial part of the loss can be explained either through disease, death in connection with handling, exposure or undefined mortality at sea.
In addition to the fact that dead fish means a direct loss for the fish farmer, poor fish health will also lead to poorer utilisation of MTB – the total biomass the fish farmer is allowed to have through production.
Production potential is not exploited, with the losses this entails. Often, the earliest sign of disease is that the fish stops eating. The fish will therefore need more time at sea to reach slaughter weight. This in its turn increases the risk of being affected by new health challenges.
It is therefore economically advisable to keep the fish as healthy as possible, and the prevention of disease especially is the key to healthy fish and optimum animal welfare throughout production. And fish health can be especially important for slaughter quality and therefore has a direct effect on the fish farmer's financial situation.