The Institute of Aquaculture of the University of Stirling raised £780,000 (USD 921,500) for a two-year project from Open Philanthropy to improve resources in areas with important concentrations of farmed fish and shellfish production and consumption.
“Across Asia, there are serious welfare issues that affect millions of aquatic animals and there is an urgent need to drive change. In addition, there is very little awareness of the importance of improving the situation,” said Dave Little, deputy head of the Institute of Aquaculture. “This significant research funding will help tackle these issues and we hope it will vastly improve aquatic animal welfare, result in fewer losses, produce a higher standard of meat, and boost the economy.”
The research will improve farmed fish welfare across the continent to avoid harm and pain to the fish, help farmers improve efficiency and business resilience, support a sustainable environment, contribute to a healthier general population, and combat poverty and hunger.
The Institute of Aquaculture team will enable the change by mapping opportunities for improved welfare, establishing networks of stakeholders, supporting education and advocacy, researching delivering improvements and removing barriers, and developing guidelines. Outcomes will be disseminated through videos, podcasts, course materials, and a resource website, publicized through social media channels and relevant publications.
The project will also support local researchers and work closely with other stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to improving fish welfare practically, all while raising awareness and interest among consumers. The work will fund and support the development of the most promising small projects in both countries to help achieve these goals.
The project will also make a fully funded MSc scholarship to study at the Institute of Aquaculture available to Thai and Vietnamese nationals, harnessing and growing the potential of local talent to continue working in this area into the future.