Photo: Essere Animali
As part of their latest investigation uncovering the brutalities of the aquaculture sector, Eurogroup for Animals’ Italian member organisation Essere Animali have today released this shocking footage exposing high stocking densities, unhygienic conditions and ineffective slaughter methods on Greek fish farms. As Europe’s main seabass and seabream producer, Greece exports more than half of its fish to Italy.
The investigation, conducted in the area of Sagaida, north of Igoumenitsa, reviewed 26 fish farms in a radius of just 18km. High stocking densities, bad water quality and severe stress experienced by fish have been shown to lead to suffering including social stress and increased incidence of disease. In response, fish farmers regularly use antibiotics and pesticides on all the fish, to prevent the spread of diseases. Annual mortality remains at a high 20%.
In addition, slaughter practices were found to be far from humane. The investigators witnessed fish crammed on top of each other, suffocating in containers filled with water and ice. Fish were recorded writhing in agony and exposed to long minutes of unnecessary suffering. “Immersion in water and ice without prior and effective stunning is a procedure that causes unjustified suffering in fish,” states Essere Animali. “This is an inadequate slaughter practice that, according to the Aquatic Animal Health Code by World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), results in poor fish welfare. Consequently, its use constitutes a clear violation of OIE international standards.”
Essere Animali has a strong history of exposing poor conditions on fish farms, revealing the cruel reality of the aquaculture industry to customers. As part of their #AncheiPesci campaign (#FishToo – website in English), Essere Animali is asking Italian major retailers to adopt policies that would oblige their suppliers to respect the welfare and reduce the animals’ suffering.