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Assessing effectiveness of electrical stunning and chilling in ice water of farmed yellowtail kingfish, common sole and pike-perch

Llonch, P., Lambooij, E., Reimert, H.G.M., van de Vis, J.W.
Aquaculture 2012 v.364-365 pp. 143-149
Sander lucioperca, Seriola lalandi, Solea solea, animal welfare, cooling, electric current, electrical treatment, farmed fish, ice, slaughter
Animals should be rendered unconscious before slaughter in order to avoid suffering or pain. The objective of this study was to evaluate an electrical stunning after dewatering to induce instantaneous unconsciousness and insensibility in yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi), common sole (Solea solea) and pike-perch (Stizostedion lucioperca). To kill without recovery, the current was applied for 5s, followed by chilling in ice water for 10min. Loss of consciousness and sensibility were assessed by neural (EEG), physiological (ECG) and behavioural parameters. An epileptiform insult was observed in all yellowtail kingfish (n=27), common sole (n=25) and pike-perch (n=25) after administering a current of 0.54±0.12 Aᵣₘₛ (124V dc and 11 Vᵣₘₛ ac; 100Hz), 0.65±0.23 Aᵣₘₛ (98V dc and 8.4 Vᵣₘₛ ac; 100Hz) and 0.75±0.24 Aᵣₘₛ (144V dc and 13 Vᵣₘₛ ac; 100Hz) during 1s through the head of individual fish, respectively. When yellowtail kingfish (n=11) was submitted to a 5s electrical stun followed by chilling in ice water, this resulted in passing 0.72±0.13 Aᵣₘₛ for 5s and no recovery during chilling. In the case of common sole (n=10) and pike-perch (n=12), passing 1.4±0.64 and 0.75±0.24 Aᵣₘₛ during 5s followed by chilling in ice water for 10min resulted in an irrecoverable stun in 9 out 10 fish and 11 out 12 fish, respectively. We conclude that for yellowtail kingfish the investigated combination of electrical stunning and chilling is suitable for humane slaughter, whereas for common sole and pike-perch this procedure needs to be optimised.