Improving farmed fish welfare

We're working in a number of ways to increase awareness of fish welfare issues and engage with the salmon and trout farming industries, governments and retailers to encourage better fish welfare. Here are some of the things we're doing.

Developing welfare standards

We've developed a set of detailed welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon and farmed rainbow trout. These cover all the key areas affecting fish welfare, including water quality, stocking density, handling, health, slaughter and wider environmental impact.

We've also written what we believe are the world's first welfare standards for well boats. The standards are used by a significant proportion of the Scottish farmed salmon industry.

front cover of rspca welfare standards farmed atlantic salmon document © RSPCA welfare standards

Working with the fish farming industry

We take every opportunity to engage with decision makers in the fish farming industry and to put forward our views to encourage better welfare for farmed fish. For example, we're members of the European Animal Welfare Platform (EAWP), which identifies best practice and looks into areas in which more research is needed into fish welfare.

We're also members of the Marine Scotland technical working group, looking at providing minimum technical definitions and industry standards for certain aspects of the fish farming process.

Scientific research

We've conducted our own applied research looking at how freshwater stocking densities affect fish welfare. We're also developing a 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, find out more about how you can help.

Find out more