Project number: 2022-146
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $75,000.00
Principal Investigator: Daryl McPhee
Organisation: McPhee Research Consultants Pty Ltd
Project start/end date: 30 Nov 2023 - 2 Aug 2024


The topic of animal welfare in fisheries remains highly contentious and contested and there is a need to find both common ground and to understand and respect the diversity of views. Failure to do so represents a financial risk to wildcatch fisheries and aquaculture and some recreational fishing activities. Animal welfare issues continue be a community focus, and more focus is being placed on the welfare of fish and selected marine invertebrates (e.g. crustaceans and cephalopods). Active campaigns of various types and levels of organisation that oppose fishing activities are not uncommon and garner attention. This project aims to consolidate our knowledge of animal welfare issues of direct relevance to FRDC and its stakeholders and provide a way forward for future research investment that is tailored to FRDC's legislative remit and the needs of its stakeholders.

There has been a considerable number of publications globally that have tackled the topic and provided a diversity of perspectives on the issue. A single workshop and report are not going to unify thinking around the question. The workshop will have a starting point that the question “do fish feel pain” is an issue that there is a diversity of views on the topic, and the focus is on currently accepted best practices and continual improvement in those practices. The workshop will have a session that focuses on community perceptions and highlighting the legitimacy of considering the community perceptions.


1. Undertake a review of key findings of previous relevant research on animal welfare in Australia, and a review of contemporary peer reviewed material on aquatic animal welfare issues, and prepare this review to inform a stakeholder workshop.
2. List key contemporary issues and developments that are relevant animal welfare in Australia since 2020.
3. Undertake a stakeholder workshop that identifies information needs and identifies and prioritises research gaps.

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