In our definition of welfare, we follow Broom (1986): “The welfare of an individual is its state as regards its attempts to cope with its environment.” Thus, welfare may be perceived as a continuum on which an individual rates “good” or “bad” or everything in between.
In our understanding, good fish welfare is guaranteed if a fish may live up to the potential of the species and develop its individuality. Or, in the words of the Swiss Animal Welfare Law, if the dignity of the animal, i.e., its intrinsic value, is respected. If the farmer lets the fishes live up to their species’ potential and develop their individuality, allowing space also for positive experiences including playing, the farmer is automatically minimising pain, suffering, and stress. If, on the other hand, the farmer concentrates all efforts on reducing pain, suffering, and stress of the fishes, they will not necessarily live up to their potential.