Regal Springs, one of the world’s largest tilapia producers, is investing in a humane stunning system from UK-based company Ace Aquatec.

The award-winning in-water stunning solution is designed to allow slaughter with minimum impact on fish welfare. Originally developed by Ace Aquatec for salmon, the company has adapted it for use with tilapia.

The project began after Ace Aquatec was awarded £1m in funding from the Humane Slaughter Association to provide pilot stunning equipment to farms that had no humane harvesting in place for finfish.

Ace Aquatec approached Regal Springs on a trial basis, and collaborated with Nautilus Collaboration and The Centre for Responsible Seafood (TCRS), to provide full EEG (electroencephalogram) results to certification bodies, validating the unconsciousness of fish and helping to provide regulators with the evidence to advocate for welfare improvements across the supply chain.

Emily McGregor, Regal Springs sustainability manager, said: “This is a huge step forward from thermal stunning to a more humane and controlled stunning process, and with this towards better fish welfare. As a side effect also process and quality parameters improved: reduced bruising, better quality of the fillets, better working conditions for staff. This supported Regal Spring’s decision to move from pilot trials to immediate uptake of the equipment, and proliferation across their business.”

Regal Springs AG is the largest vertically integrated white fish farming producer in the world. It produces premium quality tilapia, all raised in large floating nets in freshwater lakes in Indonesia, Honduras and Mexico.

Regal Springs was the world’s first tilapia producer to be certified under the ASC Tilapia and BAP 4* Tilapia standards.

Ace Aquatec CEO Nathan Pyne-Carter, commented: “Regal Springs presented us with a unique challenge to create a bespoke product for them in the rural depths of Mexico. Together we created a stunning system that puts fish welfare at the forefront of their operations.  This represents the beginning of a general acceleration across fish farming, and the wild sector linking welfare at harvest, with the economic value.

“We are now working with Barramundi farms in Australia, prawn farms in Europe, and the trout sector in Canada as consumers and regulators insist upon more humane farming processes.  We’ve been able to demonstrate that when farms take a welfare first approach, they can see real economic gains in their business. This is critical if the mission to see all fish humanely harvested worldwide is to be achieved”.

 

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