Welfare in Farmed Decapod Crustaceans

  • Key finding:

    Farming of decapod crustaceans is a key economic driver in many countries. This is currently dominated by the approximately 167 billion Pacific whiteleg shrimp (Penaeus vannamei) which are farmed and harvested annually. Further production growth is expected in the future, so there is a need for more research into its health and welfare. This article summarises an extensive survey of the available literature, examines farming practices and the challenges associated with the production of whiteleg shrimp from an animal-centric welfare perspective. They then go on to propose potential welfare indicators and critically review current scientific evidence of sentience in whiteleg shrimp among other commercially important decapods, since it is possible that in the near future not only the largest, but in fact all decapod crustaceans will receive welfare protection. This review highlights that despite the wide knowledge on crustacean stress physiology and immunology as well as disease control, still little is known about some key parameters related to the five welfare dimensions. They recommend that further research should focus on developing a systematic integrated welfare assessment encompassing all the different aspects of the crustaceans farming and life cycle up to slaughter. Furthermore, direct and indirect species-specific operational welfare indicators should be developed for all decapod crustaceans currently farmed, similar to the ones suggested in this review for whiteleg shrimp.

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Albalat Amaya, Zacarias Simão, Coates Christopher J., Neil Douglas M., Planellas Sonia Rey. “Welfare in Farmed Decapod Crustaceans, With Particular Reference to Penaeus vannamei”. Frontiers in Marine Science, Vol. 9 (2022)