Effects of on-board storage and electrical stunning of wild cod (Gadus morhua) and haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) on brain and heart activity

E. Lambooij, H. Digre, H.G.M. Reimert, I.G. Aursand, L. Grimso, J.W. van de Vis

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Cod and haddock captured with commercial trawling gear were taken immediately after landing on deck to on-board storage in dry bins for measuring brain and heart activity, and behaviour. Other groups were first stored in holding tanks and then electrically stunned with a prototype "dry stunner". For stunning 52 V-rms was applied on individual fish for 1 s. As a result, the cod and haddock received an electrical current of 0.34 +/- 0.09 and 0.36 +/- 0.12 A(rms), respectively. Electrical activity in the brain and heart was measured before and after electrical stunning. The fish remained conscious for at least 2 h after landing and during on-board storage as indicated by the electrical activity measured in brain and heart. Behavioural responsiveness to administered stimuli was absent in both species. After electrical stunning, both species showed a general epileptiform insult which was characterised by a tonic phase followed by a clonic phase and terminating with an exhaustion phase. Since the fish remained conscious after landing and storage, electrical stunning and subsequent killing with a throat cut, may provide an option for improving fish welfare on-board commercial fishing vessels. In particular, we recommend to stun and kill wild cod and haddock as soon as possible after landing on deck using a dry stunner applying 52 V-rms (coupled AC/DC current) for more than 3 s. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalFisheries Research
Issue number2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • farmed atlantic cod
  • common carp
  • fish
  • pain
  • welfare
  • stress
  • l.

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