As the first stage in decapod crustaceans’ sea to plate journey, the fishing sector has a key role to play in ensuring high welfare standards.
Worldwide, decapod crustacean fisheries are growing faster than any other type of fishery.
While they only make up about 8% of landings, crustaceans account for over 21% of the value of marine fisheries, making them pound for pound the most valuable target species (1).
However, long-held assumptions that crustaceans don’t require humane handling and treatment have more recently been tested to failure.
There are significant implications for the decapod crustacean fishing industry as a result of the legal recognition of these species’ sentience in UK law and in some other countries.
While these developments have not yet resulted in mandated changes to common shellfish capture and aquaculture practices, recognising an ability for decapods to suffer and feel pain now sits at the heart of government policy making. This is highly likely to develop into laws and regulations designed to better protect these species from harmful fishing and handling practices.