Fish Welfare Policy
Hickling's Fish Farm, Inc. is a family-owned company involved in raising and caring for the fish produced on the farm and sold to our customers. Hickling's Fish Farm, Inc. is proud of its history of raising healthy, quality fish for our customers and further recognizes that the welfare of those animals is of paramount importance for ethical reasons, for the benefit of our customers and for the benefit of our business. Hickling's Fish Farm, Inc. is a member of the National Aquaculture Association and has adopted the NAA’s Policy on Aquatic Animal Welfare (below). In addition, our owners, managers, and employees adhere to the following principles of animal welfare:
While fish are cold-blooded types of animals, they will be treated with care, respect and the best-known aquaculture practices.
Fish will be handled in ways
designed to minimize stress to the greatest practical extent.
Fish will be protected to the
extent possible from disease or predators by ensuring good
environmental conditions, good husbandry practices, following sound
biosecurity guidelines, and providing healthful diets. In the event
that fish show signs of disease, the fish will be provided with
appropriate health treatments most common for their condition and in
compliance with federal and state requirements.
Fish farm production and hatchery
systems will be managed and maintained to provide water quality
consistent with good fish health. In the event that water quality
deteriorates below acceptable levels, every practical effort will be
made to re-establish acceptable conditions as soon as possible.
Feeds will be selected to provide complete nutrition for fish
species and life stages and managed, stored and distributed to
production systems by production practices and equipment that will
maintain feed quality.
When fish are sampled, harvested,
graded, cleaned or handled, they will be maintained in water as much
as possible and appropriate methods used as practical to mitigate
the effects of stress.
Additional information on fish welfare can be found in this comprehensive review:
Erickson, H. S. 2003. Information resources on fish welfare 1970-2003. Animal Welfare Information Center Resource Series N. 20, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, MD. (https://pubs.nal.usda.gov/information-resources-fish-welfare-2003 accessed January 15, 2018).
National Aquaculture Association
Aquatic Animal Welfare
Successful aquaculture demands that animal husbandry is optimized. Aquaculture husbandry practices demand that animals are held in healthy environments, fed a balanced and complete diet, protected from predators, and monitored throughout their life to insure their general quality and health.
Aquaculture helps provide an increasing human population with a supply of wholesome, nutritious, consistent quality food, sport fish, and ornamental species. To achieve this quality, farm raised aquatic animals are raised under optimal conditions using humane practices. Aquatic animals for food are slaughtered quickly and humanely for rapid processing, which enhances the quality of farm raised aquatic animals. Aquatic animals reared for stocking of public waters, or ornamental uses, must be transported under optimal environmental conditions if the fish are to survive, and maintain their quality. Successful producers routinely follow good production practices.
Animal welfare issues are legitimate concerns for a society, and therefore aquaculture. However, use of anthropomorphic standards should be avoided when addressing aquatic animal welfare, especially in the fields of emotional response, including pain, and cognitive ability.
Animal rights or welfare organizations form a diverse group. Some organizations use legitimate legal and political practices to sway public opinion, and have assisted in developing husbandry practices which have led to improvements in animal health and quality.
Animal "liberationists" believe that any form of "captivity" or use of animals by humans is wrong, and have been known to disseminate false information, violate state or federal law, destroy personal or public property, and cause immediate harm to animals or the environment in an effort to promote their beliefs.
1. Believes that successful aquaculture demands that husbandry is optimized, that legitimate welfare issues are addressed by demands of the industry, and supports the rights of aquaculture in the propagation and marketing of aquatic animals.
2. Supports continued improvements in animal husbandry when appropriate, but opposes the use of anthropomorphic values to determine stocking densities, husbandry practices, or slaughter techniques.
3. Supports the right of all people to use legitimate, legal means to voice their opinions or determine public policy.
4. Opposes individuals and organizations who are opposed to any form of animal captivity, or who illegally destroy public or private property.
5. Supports legislation prohibiting dissemination of false information concerning animal welfare that adversely affects aquaculture product marketability or public opinion about aquacultured products.