Fish as Laboratory Animals

  • Anne Christine Utne-PalmEmail author
  • Adrian Smith
Part of the Animal Welfare book series (AWNS, volume 20)


In this chapter, we aim at giving an overview of the extent to which fish are used in laboratory studies. We look at the most commonly used species (zebrafish, salmonids, goldfish, medaka and three-spined stickleback) and give some reasons why these species—and fish in general—are so popular experimental animals. Further, we give an overview of some of the legislation governing the use of fish as experimental animals and the areas in which they are used. We describe general and specific efforts to improve laboratory fish welfare and the quality of the research being performed on them. Given that fish is such a diverse group of species with species-specific needs and adaptations, it is difficult to make general guidelines, but we argue that we can achieve a great deal by building a knowledge database and welfare guidelines for the most commonly used species. Guidelines for planning and conducting fish experiments are mentioned, as well as advice on the assessment of welfare in fish species.


Fish Laboratory Research Zebrafish Salmonid Goldfish Medaka Stickleback 



We thank Gunvor Kristin Knudsen for assistance with statistical data regarding the use of research animals in non-EU countries.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine ResearchBergenNorway
  2. 2.NorecopaOsloNorway

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