Development and validation of an assessment system for improved animal welfare and animal health in shrimp farming

The main task of the CrustaWohl project is to investigate selected, practice-relevant husbandry conditions (e.g. water and environmental parameters, cultivation densities, moulting events) and handling procedures (e.g. sizing, harvesting, cleaning operations) for shrimp farming (Litopenaeus vannamei) in Germany. A better understanding of the sources of chronic stress and its effects on and animal health is aimed, through the application of multidisciplinary methodologies (video analysis, physiology, genomic, histology). The results can be combined in practice to form an application-relevant animal welfare evaluation system (index).

The immediate objective is to prevent suboptimal husbandry conditions, chronic stress reactions, aversive behaviour, growth deficits and possible injuries (especially in recently moulted animals) in order to ensure an increase in animal welfare during husbandry and an improvement in the product quality of market-ready shrimp. In order to make the communication of this evaluation system as simple as possible, a simplified final summary is to be used (weighted evaluation based on a welfare value/score).

Work packages:  

  • Determination of the effects of different stocking densities on the target species
  • Investigation of the influence of water parameters on shrimp
  • Determination of the influence of hygiene measures in the husbandry process on different stress parameters
  • Development of a practical animal welfare evaluation system
  • Testing and validation of the welfare score in practical farms
  • Development of utilization and application concepts with approved experts and organizations

Methodology applied:

  • Video recording and AI: behaviour monitoring
  • Physiology: analysis of metabolites and parameters related to oxidative stress in hemolymph and other tissues
  • Genomic: Identification of chronic stress and inflammation markers
  • Histology: observe microscopic tissue damages
  • Observations of external damages and injuries

Questionnaire to shrimp experts: highlight management and common practices in farms and research facilities

Internship – Bachelor thesis – Master thesis

Internships and final theses can be carried out in this project.

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Proposed by ALFRED-WEGENER-INSTITUT    |    Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research | Section of KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER    |    AQUACULTURE RESEARCH GROUP

Categories: Newsletter-2023