We’re working in a number of ways to increase awareness of fish welfare issues and lobby and work with the salmon farming industry, governments and retailers for improvements.
RSPCA welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon
We have developed a set of detailed RSPCA welfare standards for farmed salmon, which are now being used by a significant proportion of the Scottish farmed salmon industry. We developed the standards in conjunction with fish veterinary surgeons, animal welfare scientists and industry representatives. They cover all the key areas affecting fish welfare including water quality, stocking density, handling, health, slaughter and wider environmental impact.
We have also written and included what we believe to be the world's first welfare standards for well boats. These are boats in which the fish are transported in a specially-designed well in the hold. The water quality (temperature, pH, oxygen etc.) in the well boats can be controlled, and underwater cameras monitor the fish. Through the Freedom Food scheme, a significant proportion of Scottish farmed salmon are now transported using this method, an example of the RSPCA and farming industry working together for the benefit of animal welfare.
Working at the highest levels for improvements in fish welfare
For example, we are members of the European Animal Welfare Platform (EAWP), which identifes areas in which more research is needed into fish welfare.
Scientific fish welfare research
We have conducted our own applied research looking at how freshwater stocking densities affect fish welfare. We are also developing a system of ‘welfare outcome assessment' to make it easier to tell whether fish welfare on a given farm is as good as possible or could be improved.
If you’re concerned about fish welfare, please also read about how you can help.