Slaughter is the process of killing fish after harvesting. Numerous methods are used to slaughter fish, but most have been found to be inadequate and inhumane. Methods such as asphyxiation in air, carbon-dioxide stunning, gill-cutting (exsanguination), and live chilling are now recognised to be inhumane and as such should not be used.
Acceptable slaughter methods should render the animal insensible without causing avoidable pain or suffering. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), percussive stunning and electrical stunning systems are best able to provide humane slaughter. However, the process of getting the fish to these systems can be counterproductive and raises questions around these techniques also. In order to get the fish to these slaughter systems, they are often extensively crowded and, in some cases, exposed to air. Crowding and air exposure are known to result in a significant panic and stress response in individuals.
The use of AQUI-S® prior to stunning offers advantages for fish welfare and maximises the quality of the product following slaughter.