German study finds anaesthetics in Singapore fish water

A study by scientists in Germany has found non-declared anaesthetics present in the transport water of fish imported from Singapore.

The study, which was undertaken by Wohr, Hildebrand Unshelm and Erhard of the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, looked at 1000 fish imports landed at the Rhein-Main-Airport Frankfurt, Germany.

In all of the 100 water samples analysed for the presence of anaesthetics, a non-declared chemical, 2-phenoxyethanol, was present in all shipments exported from Singapore.

They found that 41% of the shipments had been in transit for between 31-42 hours and that there was an oxygen deficit in the bag water. This is actually a different conclusion to that shown by previous studies, which have demonstrated that oxygen isn\'t limiting.

They also found damaged boxes, high fish densities and drastic size differences between the fishes in the bags.

The team call the results \"disturbing\" and says that the results \"emphasize that improvements are urgently necessary in the control of the air transport and trade with ornamental fish.\"

Wohr AC, Hildebrand H, Unshelm J, Erhard MH (2005) - Aspects of animal welfare and species protection in the international trade of ornamental fish and air transport to Germany. Berl Munch Tierarztl Wochenschr. 2005 May-Jun;118(5-6):177-85.