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Benefish: benefits and costs of welfare interventions in aquaculture

Mejdell CM, Kadri S, Damsgård B. Benefish: benefits and costs of welfare interventions in aquaculture. In: Global food security: ethical and legal challenges (eds. Casabona CMR, San Epifanio LE, Cirion AE). Wageningen Academic Publishers, Netherlands, 2010; pp 116-20

There is increasing agreement in Europe that a high level of animal welfare, including fish welfare, is an ethical value that can be regarded as a public good. Improved welfare will often however involve extra costs for fish farmers, whereas economic benefits may be less visible. The BENEFISH project has developed a bio-economic model, which provides a tool for estimating the overall monetary outcome of actions taken to improve fish welfare. The model can handle all costs, including capital investments and operational costs, and benefits including direct effects on production as well as any added value through increased willingness for business partners and consumers to buy or to pay a premium. Degree of uncertainty can be integrated, and analysis can be done for single farms or the whole industry. Visualisation of the economy of welfare improvements may motivate fish farmers to prioritize welfare. Further, the tool may be used to select the more cost-effective welfare actions, and as a decision support tool for policy makers and legislators. 

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Mejdell Cecilie Marie

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