Title:

Harvest and slaughter methods for farmed Barramundi to minimise fish stress and achieve premium market quality and improved fish welfare outcomes

Project Number:

2019-003

Organisation:

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries EcoScience Precinct

Principal Investigator:

Sue Poole

Project Status:

Current

FRDC Expenditure:

$124,230.90

Program(s):

Industry

Need

Current practices for slaughter of farmed Barramundi use ice slurry. The sector has undertaken preliminary research to understand impacts of harvest and slaughter methods on stress, product quality and fish welfare. Further investigation is needed into practical and cost-effective application of rested harvest on farms, together with understanding how practices can be improved, for example understanding optimal ice slurry amount, timing, and crowding; and determining impact on flesh quality indicators (e.g. flesh pH, blood glucose and lactate and blood pH). Complementary to harvest method protocols, is the need to investigate the impact on stress of direct transfer of fish into ice slurry as a slaughter method. The project focus contributes directly to the National priority of: Improving productivity and profitability of fishing and aquaculture, by increasing profitability through better supply-chain connections (FRDC RD&E plan, 2015-20). Similarly, the project addresses the NPIRDEF, Working together: the National fishing and aquaculture RD&E Strategy, 2010 value chain outcome of: Fisheries and aquaculture are prosperous and viable; strategic research themes – growth and profitability; maximising value from aquatic resources.

Objectives

1. Determine stress imposed on fish during harvest operations, and develop methods for stress reduction.

2. Evaluate methods of slaughter that minimise stress to fish, incorporating animal welfare best practice

3. Refine and adapt protocols on farm with Industry to ensure practicality and cost-effectiveness

4. Prepare guide material on effective protocols for Industry best practice in formats suitable for ready reference by Industry