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FiBL expands aquaculture research

Aquaculture – the breeding and production of fish and mussels as well as aquatic snails and plants – has a relatively low status in Switzerland compared to other European countries such as Denmark, France and Greece or the aquaculture giant China.

However, what is different in Switzerland is the greater than average share of organic aquaculture in total aquaculture produce: at 25-30% it is much higher than the global average of 0.1%. For example, the share of marine fish from organically certified aquaculture sold by Swiss supermarket retailer Coop currently stands at 31 percent.

Given the high potential significance of aquaculture for Switzerland, FiBL has extended its aquaculture research and advice since late 2011. In addition to the ongoing and renowned CTI* “Hermetia project” which is co-financed by Coop, aquaculture research at FiBL is also concerned with the health and welfare of fish. The Migros supermarket chain is supporting a project in this field. The project’s aim is to combat illnesses in aquaculture fish with the aid of plant substances. To this end an indoor facility with a capacity of thirty 55-litre fish tanks is being installed at FiBL in Frick. Controlled trials with plant-based feed supplements and phytotherapeutics will be carried out at this facility.
There has as yet been insufficient research on fish welfare and indicators of well-being of fish under production conditions. As part of this project FiBL will therefore also study the impact of a variety of husbandry systems on the behaviour and welfare of fish. This will involve the study of physiological (blood) and ethological (behavioural) parameters as well as the fishes’ external appearance and comparisons of these factors between organic and non-organic production systems.

With new advisory services and strategies, FiBL aims at motivating additional fish breeders in Switzerland to engage in organic production in order to satisfy the great demand for organic fish.

*CTI: Commission for Technology and Innovation CTI, the Swiss Federal Administration's decision-making body for all matters pertaining to the promotion of innovation.

Further information

FiBL contact