Fish Welfare Mini Symposium | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

Fish Welfare Mini Symposium

How do fish perceive pain? What are the research findings about pain perception and stress? How can one measure natural fish behaviour? Is there evidence-based knowledge to optimally handle, transport and keep fish? To what extent do insights in animal welfare apply to fish? What do we observe in aquaculture, wild-capture fisheries, and research surveys as applied challenges and potential solutions? What about legislation and experiments to mitigate current practices? During this one-day symposium, jointly organised by ILVO (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) and VLIZ (Flanders Marine Institute), the international knowledge landscape will be explored to prioritise future actions.On 29 November 2019 in Ostend, Belgium.


8:30 Welcome & coffee

9:00 Introduction
Moderator: Dominique Adriaens (Ghent University)

SESSION 1: Pain and stress research

9:05 Keynote lecture: Protecting the welfare of captive fish PDF Icon
Felicity Huntingford (Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK) & Sunil Kadri (Aquaculture Innovation, University of Stirling, UK)

9:45 Humane endpoints in studies involving fish
Annemie Decostere (Faculty Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University)

10:00 Monitoring catch welfare using biomarkers: helping fish and fisheries survive? PDF Icon
Sebastian Uhlmann & Noémi Van Bogaert (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - ILVO)

10:15 Working with wild-caught flatfish in experiments: two sides of the story PDF Icon
Maaike Vercauteren (Faculty Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University)

10:30 Coffee break

SESSION 2: Farmed fish and ethics

11:00 Keynote lecture: Fishing in an underwater world? PDF Icon
Gert Flik (Radboud University, Nijmegen, NL)

11:30 EU legislation and activities on welfare of farmed fish PDF Icon
Birgit Van Tongelen (DG Mare, European Commission)

11:45 Environmental enrichment and its potential in fish aquaculture PDF Icon
Thomas Abeel (Research group Aqua-ERF, Odisee College Belgium)

12:00 The human-fish relationship PDF Icon
Christel Moons (Faculty Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University)

12:15 Lunch and poster session

SESSION 3: Applied challenges and potential solutions

13:15 Demersal trawling and welfare of fish: what are the challenges and possible solutions? PDF Icon
Hans Polet (Flanders Research Institute for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food - ILVO)

13:30 Observations on the welfare of fish released from demersal trawls PDF Icon
Mike Breen (Institute of Marine Research, NO)

13:45 Improving fish welfare in recreational angling PDF Icon
David Bral (Flemish Association for Recreational Anglers)

14:00 Aquaculture PDF Icon
Edson Panana Villalobos (Inagro)

14.15 Concluding questions and remarks
Dominique Adriaens (Ghent University)


Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)
InnovOcean site
Wandelaarkaai 7 (entry warehouse 61)
8400 Oostende
How to reach us?


Attendance to this conference is free. Registration is mandatory no later than 21 November on this link.

Pre-publication article magazine De Grote Rede

Dutch speaking participants can read the overview article 'Voelen vissen pijn?' (in Dutch only) as a pre-publication of the magazine De Grote Rede #51 appearing in spring of 2020.

Abstract submission

If you wish to present a poster at the symposium, you can submit your abstract on the link mentioned in the invitation mail, no later than 15 November 2019. The form to submit your abstract is divided into separate fields:

  • Title: give your abstract an appealing title to stimulate the reader to read the full abstract.
  • Abstract: write an abstract on your work, containing no more than 500 words. Only plain, bold and italic text is allowed, as well as subscript and superscript. All other layout will not be exported. Images are not allowed. Please note that this abstract must be camera-ready, i.e. we do not foresee any editing, the author is fully responsible for its contents and language.
  • Keyword: by listing a max. of five well thought-out keywords you can make sure your abstract is easily detected by interested readers.
  • Authors: for each author, the full name and affiliation must be submitted. The order in which you submit is the order in which they will be published.

If your abstract is selected for a poster presentation, you will be informed by e-mail by 18 November 2019.
Requested poster size is A0, portrait orientated (841 mm wide, 1189 mm high) or smaller.