Revista de Etologia
Print version ISSN 1517-2805
Numerous species of fish constitute a valuable resource to humans. The welfare of fish in captivity has been a matter of growing concern and despite little is known about their welfare, fish is protected in most European legislation. The concept of animal welfare has been applied to fish, with some controversy related to their suffering capability. The ability to form declarative mental representations is a pre-requisite for sentience, and has been described for fish in the context of studies on social interactions, spatial memory and learning. Similarly to the physiology of stress, recent studies on pain perception and fear in fish have shown that they share important neuroanatomical, physiological and behavioural features with the tetrapods. The psychological effect of stress in fish was also already addressed. The cognitive complexity of fish has relevant implications to their moral status and husbandry recommendations.
Keywords : Fish welfare; Suffering, Memory; Learning; Mental representations.