Use of drugs i fish farming

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The concept of pain in fish is an integral part of the relevance of such work and has therefore been included in the aim of this project. Anaesthesia consists of three components, 1. analgesia (pain relief), 2. amnesia (loss of memory) and 3. immobilization. Until recently, the main focus of anaesthetics in fish was on immobilization in order to facilitate handling, especially during tagging, vaccination and weighing. The drugs used derived in part from human and veterinary medicine and in part from other sources, but that these drugs all had in common was that their introduction to fish happened by trial and error. Increased awareness of ethical issues and stress physiology has raised the level of concern both among the general public and within the research community regarding the risk of inflicting injury when fish are being handled. As mentioned above, such considerations have not been a major criterion when drugs for fish have been selected and therefore new criteria and evaluation models need to be developed.

Conclusions On the basis of our own results as outlined above and the fact that fish possess all the nervous structure needed to receive and transmit noxious stimuli from all parts of the body to the central nervous system, we conclude that noxious stimuli can inflict severe long-term stress on fish, a stress that will indisputably reduce the wellbeing of the fish and reduce its production potential. This is independent of whether the experience is comparable to what humans define as pain or not and have welfare and financial implications for the fish and the farmer, respectively.

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