Forsøksdyr: SEASTAR Real time monitoring and surveillance of welfare in Atlantic salmon

Godkjenningsdato 24.03.2020

Godkjenningsperiode 24.03.2020-31.12.2021

1 Purpose: We will conduct a series of experiments that aims to test and validate robustness of real-time environmental and physiological data delivery from a miniaturized wearable sensor on Atlantic salmon in relation to routine behavior, feeding, handling stress and swimming speeds. A pre-pilot study will be done on 10 fish to test an heart rate sensor where after the calibration of the sensor is done, the fish will not be let to wake up and euthanised. A Phase-1(Main pilot) will be done in a controlled laboratory setting to test and validate sensor design, behavior and measurements and to establish the method on fish and where the focus will be on welfare, robustness of data delivery, and durability over time. The behavior of sensored fish will be compared to unsensored fish. In Phase-2 we will do controlled lab studies where we will focus on the biological significance of the data delivered. We will perform experiments with standard stress tests, with different swimming speeds and during feeding. In follow-up trials(Phase-3; a separate FOTS-application) we will monitor free swimming fish during various aquaculture operations.

2 Distress: We aim for moderate distress to the fish following the surgical procedure, as a selection criteria for the final location of the sensor. Based on previous experience the fish will recover quickly from mounting the intraperitoneal(IP)-transmittor. In Phase-1 we will closely follow the behavior of the fish to assess the distress from the on fish sensor mounted on palate roof(a) operculum(b) or with the transmittor(c). Based on welfare assessment we will decide which mounting location (a,b,or c) wil be used in Phase-2

3 Expected benefit: Based on the results from these trials we aim to be able to correctly interpret real-time physiological data collected in a commercial aquaculture setting. This will allow the fish welfare to be assesed in real time during critical operations (e.g. confinement) and the procedure can be halted or changed accordingly. The resulting system will represent an innovative underwater infrastructure that, for the first time, will allow fish farmers to monitor the health and behavior of individual sentinel fish remotely, in real-time, and to gather relevant data for accurate assessment of welfare and risk and also enable forecasting.

4 Number of animals, and what kind: Atlantic salmon (n=98) at 1 and 3 kg start-wheight

5 Adhering to 3R:
“Reduce”: In Phase-2 where we collect data for statistical assessment we will use 20 replicate fish per treatment group. This is slightly above required minimum standard in physiological studies of fish when significant individual variations is expected to ensure we can robustly test durability of the sensor.

“Replace”: The SEASTAR system is based on real-time assessment of living whole animal performance traits. It will measure and assess variations in ventilation and heart rate of live Atlantic salmon over time. The measured results and assessment of welfare cannot be obtained nor validated by alternative indirect approaches.

“Refine”: The fish will be kept in a highly controlled laboratory tank environment at ILAB at ideal water qualities, simulated natural light and appropriate feeding protocols. We will carefully examine, prepare and practice surgical protocols based on published studies. Fish will be anaesthetized, and surgical procedure is expected to be brief with little complications.