Extent and possible conservation implications of fish use for research, testing and education in North America

Publication Type: Journal Article

Year of Publication: 2006

Authors: Grey, M, Vincent ACJ

Journal: Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems

Volume: 16

Issue: 6

Pagination: 569 - 578

Date Published: 09/2006

ISSN: 1099-0755

Keywords: conservation, fish research, spiny dogfish shark, sustainable use


1. Fish species are used globally for fundamental research, product and environmental testing, and education, but this use has not hitherto been documented. The number of fish used for research and education in North America currently represents approximately one-quarter of all animal use for these purposes; only mice are used in higher numbers. Data from the Canadian Council on Animal Care, various animal care committees from Canadian universities, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service are collated and summarized.
2. In Canada nearly a half a million fish were used for research and education each year from 1996 to 2001. We estimated that the United States used over four times that amount for the same purposes, totalling approximately 2.8 million fish each year.
3. At least 100 fish species, representing 27 taxonomic orders, were used for research and education in North America from 1996 to 2001. Close to one-third of the species had life-history characteristics that might make them particularly susceptible to over-exploitation. This potential vulnerability, coupled with data from animal care facilities in Canada suggesting that nearly half of all fish used for research and education were wild-caught, should prompt further documentation of such fish uses in order to assess their sustainability.

DOI: 10.1002/aqc.731

Short Title: Aquatic Conserv: Mar. Freshw. Ecosyst.