Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Every so often when I talk about aquaponics someone brings up issues around either the captive culture, or humane slaughter of fish.  These are important, relevant questions that we are going to need to wrestle with in aquaponics.

 

Here is a link to a short PETA editorial that just came out in our local paper about this subject.  Treehugger.com regularly brings this up.

How do you answer these questions?  Are fish humanely treated in aquaponics?  How do you humanely slaughter a fish?

Views: 2571

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I either put them in an ice bath or gas them with CO2 if I am doing a large batch harvest. If I am just pulling a fish, I place the point of a large strong at the edge of the gill plate, stab down then bring the handle of the knife down to the cutting surface which kills the fish within a second or 2. As for explaining to people, I tell them all fish go to heaven. :P
And I will add, yes purging is quite common practice in aquaculture and does make a significant difference in taste. As to the fish being on the edge of death after 5 days of not eating? Not a chance.

Tilapia can survive 60 F water no problem, but they are a bit slower at the cooler temperatures so probably a bit easier to catch.  When doing large numbers of fish, the ice water bath is probably a good choice, especially for people with poor aim.

chilling them down is also good for the cause of preserving the meat and quality.

 

However most of our fish are done in with a sharp blow to the head.  Keep in mind your hands will get chilled cleaning a lot of icy fish.

 

As to purging, we tried it once.  Couldn't really tell that it was worth the trouble.  See fish that you get from the store are usually not killed and cleaned within seconds of coming out of the pond.  It takes time for them to move through the processing plants and even before they get there, they probably had a truck ride from pond side to processing facility, hopefully in icy water but possibly not.  So Most store bought tilapia fillets have probably not been purged but also not processed within moments of being pulled out of the water and killed.

 

For a home system I think the good taste of our fish is probably mostly due to the speed at which we take them form tank to table.  They are not allowed to sit around waiting to be cleaned and I've never experienced a "muddy" tasting fish from my aquaponics.

 

Now perhaps if you are running high density commercial operation with less than pristine water, then perhaps the purging before processing the fish is a necessary step.

It could have 50 degrees and not 60. It was also november of 09 I was there. Thanks for the suggestions TCLynx. The ice bath sounds perfect.

TCLynx said:

Tilapia can survive 60 F water no problem, but they are a bit slower at the cooler temperatures so probably a bit easier to catch.  When doing large numbers of fish, the ice water bath is probably a good choice, especially for people with poor aim.

chilling them down is also good for the cause of preserving the meat and quality.

 

However most of our fish are done in with a sharp blow to the head.  Keep in mind your hands will get chilled cleaning a lot of icy fish.

 

As to purging, we tried it once.  Couldn't really tell that it was worth the trouble.  See fish that you get from the store are usually not killed and cleaned within seconds of coming out of the pond.  It takes time for them to move through the processing plants and even before they get there, they probably had a truck ride from pond side to processing facility, hopefully in icy water but possibly not.  So Most store bought tilapia fillets have probably not been purged but also not processed within moments of being pulled out of the water and killed.

 

For a home system I think the good taste of our fish is probably mostly due to the speed at which we take them form tank to table.  They are not allowed to sit around waiting to be cleaned and I've never experienced a "muddy" tasting fish from my aquaponics.

 

Now perhaps if you are running high density commercial operation with less than pristine water, then perhaps the purging before processing the fish is a necessary step.

I have learned more about the personalities of fish than ever before through aquaponics. Which has made me feel responsible for their well being. Yes there will and are people who care little about the soul of a fish.

 

But there are those of us that do... to talk about the slaughter of fish.  A recommendation was to simply 'ice' them. Ready for transport and a humane death.  I do this for the occasional very diseased fish and I can say while its doesn't make me happy, they die peacefully and without struggle, with less suffering than.living in pain. I think also that there is a difference in a huge slaughter house, with insensitive fish handlers than a small scale.

in any event all of us here are serial fish killers... but few of us relish the idea of mistreating our fish. this is a good topic and we should address this as its probably the least favorite thing about aquaponics. Every fish will be different and guidelines or suggestions should be made. smacking a tough skulled fish just is not going to work, for example.

 

 

 

Working with animals do give you far more contact time, and as humans do, we get attached and note "personality" in individual creatures.  That is normal and I think it makes us look after them better.  It does not change the fact for many people though, that what you are raising will be food.  My wife grew up that way and we are doing the same for our kids.  While my daughter gets a little distraught at a hunt (she is only 6) she understands that if we do not take some animals off the farm, there will not be enough food for them all and they will starve (Incidently, game re-location mortality rates are staggering, and I think dying from stress is far worse that getting hit in a vital organ with a bullet).  It is not as if we have ripped our fish out of animal eutopia, shoved them into terrible conditions and eventually torture them to death.  They were bred as food, bought as food and raised as food.  Does not mean they do not get respect but they stay food.

 

The kids know the animals on their farm and often they are even named, but when the time comes, they know that they will be eaten.  Caring for animals and treating them well does not mean that you become a PETA type, but these groups do not seem to understand this at all.

nathaniel taylor said:

I have learned more about the personalities of fish than ever before through aquaponics. Which has made me feel responsible for their well being. Yes there will and are people who care little about the soul of a fish.

 

But there are those of us that do... to talk about the slaughter of fish.  A recommendation was to simply 'ice' them. Ready for transport and a humane death.  I do this for the occasional very diseased fish and I can say while its doesn't make me happy, they die peacefully and without struggle, with less suffering than.living in pain. I think also that there is a difference in a huge slaughter house, with insensitive fish handlers than a small scale.

in any event all of us here are serial fish killers... but few of us relish the idea of mistreating our fish. this is a good topic and we should address this as its probably the least favorite thing about aquaponics. Every fish will be different and guidelines or suggestions should be made. smacking a tough skulled fish just is not going to work, for example.

 

 

 

I too was brought up on a farm.  We had the understanding of the purpose of certain animals.  We knew that they would be sent to market or they would be eaten.  We even participated in the killing and dressing of the chickens.  I raised my children the same way.  Here in Hawaii we raised all our meat, beef, pork, chicken, turkey, ducks, and geese.  My ex husband and friends killed the animals humanely and we all butchered them .  But we treated the animals well.  The kids knew the horses and the dogs did not belong in the food catagory.  We loved them as they grew up and no animal ever got better treatment.  This is reality.  I believe that most PETA people are vegetarian or Vegan which is their right.  It is also my right to eat meat and because I do It does not make me evil.  I sense that most people who do aquaponics, actually I don't know most people, but the ones I do know never mistreat their fish on purpose.  in fact the opposite is true.  They try as hard as they can to keep their water pure and healthy and are very sad if a fish dies.

I kill my tilapia with a very sharp knife and sever their spinal cord and we did in Biology.  You can not kill an Asian Catfish that way.  His head and body is too tough.  Hitting them does not work either besides I would probably miss and break my hand.  I just use the cold routine on them.  I quit raising them because of things like that.

I wonder if PETA has ever invesitgated the blood curdling screams eminating from the vege patch whenever you walk towards it with a knife....

 

Or are some life forms more equal than others...

I'll try and find the link... but not so long ago in Australia PETA was demanding that we all stop harvesting and eating fish...

 

And to encourage that... we should rename fish.. to "sea kittens",....

 

Here you go .... http://www.peta2.com/sea_kittens/

 

Even has downloadable colouring-in characters... and other merchandise...

I have to say I've been fascinated with this discussion, and have loved it's thoughtfulness and depth... and then wouldn't you know along comes an Aussie...and now I'm rolling on the floor with laughter.  I feel a bit like I'm cracking up at a funeral.  Rupert, that website is hysterical! Absolutely perfect.  Thanks for sharing.
Good thing they only have around 8000 fans.  Funny let these - would love to transport them back to the hunter-gatherer era and see how they do.

RupertofOZ said:

I'll try and find the link... but not so long ago in Australia PETA was demanding that we all stop harvesting and eating fish...

 

And to encourage that... we should rename fish.. to "sea kittens",....

 

Here you go .... http://www.peta2.com/sea_kittens/

 

Even has downloadable colouring-in characters... and other merchandise...

I believe the purge and ice bath methods to be the most "humane" if you would. The purge will help with flavor of the fish as well.  I believe rather than just clubbing their head straight out of the purge tank, which most likely still carries some level of pain to it, an ice bath is in order if at all possible.  The lowest temp that the fish could survive in would be ideal, and as soon as that temp is reached either a decapitation or a club to the head would be ideal in my eyes.  Beyond the actual harvesting of the fish, try to put as much appreciation into the fish as possible.  Realize that animal life on this earth has only existed because of eating other organisms, including other animals, which is in my opinion natural.  I believe Native Americans exemplified this respect for all life in a beautiful manner.  They would kneel and say a prayer for the animal killed. Maybe that is one other addition to keeping a high level of respect.  Whether this "prayer" is religious, vocal, mental, etc. i believe in taking some time out to respect the cycle of matter in this universe; and how it is beyond human comprehension.  I also believe when one takes this time to show respect he/she will feel connected to the universe.

In regards to "how can killing of anything be "humane"".  I believe that many people overdo the word "humane".  How "humane" is human existence in it of itself; we currently are analogous to a virus infecting the other life on this planet (which they were here first)? I believe respect is much more important than what most people believe is "humane".  How "humane" is one bird stealing babies from another birds nest and ripping the baby birds to shreds; sometimes not even eating all of them? Yet this is natural. Samsara.  Existence is suffering.  Enlightenment is the only way out.  I believe realizing that suffering is what makes enlightenment exist is somehow saying that death and decay must exist. This now creates a journey and a goal, of becoming enlightened.  Struggle and hardship make one feel, feel human.  I personally believe that i would be bored if i was born enlightened.  It is our destiny to live in a world of pain and suffering, and to work towards overcoming this within ourselves.  Though enlightenment may not be attainable for everyone all the time; it is a worthy goal to work towards.  So, trying to bring this full circle, we should attempt to think of the world as matter and souls that inhabit that matter.  And realize that things must die in order for others to live on the material side of things.  This is the cycle of matter.  Our souls are just getting moved and shuffled around.  I believe that just like matter, souls are not created or destroyed just rearranged. Thus, killing an organisms does not kill their soul. The soul moves on to the next part of its journey, the journey to enlightenment... The mere fact of growing your own food already minimizes so much pain and strain on the earth.  Some death must occur.  Even plants are provided nutrition through death and decay, its called A COMPOST PILE. Living micro-organisms kill and consume each other all the time to complete the cycle of matter on the earth.  So killing things in my opinion can be "humane".  Its just western thinking going "Awwww, that baby rabbit is so cute; don't let a fox eat it. (then the fox dies later from starvation)"  If we don't kill and consume we will die, how "humane" is a human death?

 

This is all just my opinion and insight on this subject. To each his own.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2020   Created by Sylvia Bernstein.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service