Simply because we care
"We care about the animals and we want them to have the best possible living conditions," says Christian De Santis who is a senior researcher at Cargill Innovation Center in Dirdal. Through analysis and controlled experiments on the fish's nutritional needs and physiology, he seeks new knowledge about how the fish can perform at its best under the best possible living conditions.
Why do you put the fish first in the work you do?
"For two reasons mainly, an ethical and an economical. From an ethical perspective, simply because we care. We care about the animals and we want them to have the best possible living conditions.
From an economical perspective, the “fish system” has high productivity only if the machinery works well. You cannot imagine going fast in a car that has a flat tire or make a long trip if you have not had proper maintenance. We “ask” the fish to produce valuable flesh for our consumption and to do so at a pace that is always pushing the limits. In order to achieve that, we need to take care of them and their welfare as best we can."
... and how do you do it, specifically?
"I work in innovation, and we conduct controlled trials to test fish performance under different conditions. We simply need to ensure that we constantly monitor the animals’ welfare and that the new knowledge we generate in innovation does not affect and interfere with fish welfare. If it does interfere, we would rather not implement those changes, but search for other solutions. I must say this rarely happens though, because fish health/welfare goes hand in hand with performance for the reasons I explained above."
What would happen if you did not prioritize fish health and fish welfare in your work?
"For a start, we would most likely compromise performance. But more importantly, we would go against who we are. It makes no sense thinking about what would happen if we didn’t prioritize fish health and welfare because it simply will not happen. This is who we are and want to be, as a company and as individuals. Cargill has the same approach to our working environment, for instance, a strong safety culture aiming to create a working environment with Zero Harm. This is a very ambitious goal for a company like ours. And every year, each employee commits to put safety above anything else. We simply cannot do what we do if we are not safe, can we? It’s exactly the same for the fish."
What are the benefits of prioritizing fish health and fish welfare, and for whom?
"The benefits and the reasons are summarized in the first answer. Everyone benefits from putting the fish first. Customers produce more, the fish live a more decent life and we can continue doing what we’re doing being conscious that we have done our best to ensure our contribution to fish welfare and health."
Why should Fish First be an important focus area for the whole of Cargill?
"Husbandry conditions play a big role in determining optimal fish health and welfare, and most of our customers are doing their best to secure the ideal conditions for the animals. Despite that, fish has to endure and fight some challenges. To fight these challenges, they need specific nutrients. Cargill supplies those nutrients in the feed, and we have the responsibility to ensure that we have done all we can think of in order to understand what the fish need to thrive."