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New welfare fish standard for farmed Atlantic salmon

Global Animal Partnership developed the farmed fish standard focused on fish welfare from hatch to harvest and spans the entire supply chain, with a commitment to transparency and authenticity.

New welfare fish standard for farmed Atlantic salmon
June 9, 2022

Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.), with a mission to drive meaningful, continuous improvement of farm animal welfare, unveiled its new multi-tiered, animal-focused farmed Atlantic salmon certification program on World Oceans Day. The new standard adds value to G.A.P.'s diverse array of partners, fulfilling consumer demands for animal welfare in the food they purchase.

Millions of Atlantic salmon are farmed every year, today representing approximately 70% of all salmon raised annually. There is a large body of scientific evidence that proves finfish, like Atlantic salmon, are sentient and able to experience feelings and sensations like pain, stress and fear. With this in mind, G.A.P. has applied its proven approach to standards development used for terrestrial animals to aquaculture, making farmed salmon the tenth species in the organization's labeling and certification program.

“Aquaculture was a natural next step for us,” said Anne Malleau, executive director of G.A.P. “With the exponential increase in salmon farming in recent years, we see an opportunity to increase our impact, adding aquaculture to our standards. As always, we are committed to putting the animal first, and have created a program that is meaningful to all sizes of operations across the supply chain.”

Developed like other G.A.P. standards, which currently impact over 400 million farm animals annually, the fish-focused standard used a multi-stakeholder approach, working with producers, scientists, retailers, and NGOs.

G.A.P.'s new farmed fish standard is focused on fish welfare from hatch to harvest and spans the entire supply chain, with a commitment to transparency and authenticity. Some of the areas the standard includes are:

  • Enrichments at all life stages.
  • Stocking density requirements.
  • Cleaner fish care and management.
  • Daily water quality monitoring.
  • Non-lethal predator control.
  • Skin and body conditioning monitoring.
  • Slaughter requirements.

“G.A.P's new salmon standard is a game-changer in terms of animal welfare in the aquaculture industry. It will provide much-needed guidance, support and accountability to a sector that has faced major animal welfare concerns. We are thrilled to see a standard that is so comprehensive in its animal welfare indicators and hope that this can serve as a catalyst for other standard-making bodies,” affirmed Catalina Lopez-Salazar, director of the Aquatic Animal Alliance at the Aquatic Life Institute.

“Fish are sentient animals capable of suffering and feeling pain, so it's important that we protect their welfare. The new G.A.P standards for Atlantic salmon are now the highest and most comprehensive available,” said Ben Williamson, US director of Compassion in World Farming. “While a ban on the use of cleaner fish in salmon farms remains a long-term goal of Compassion in World Farming, G.A.P.'s requirements for humane slaughter, environmental enrichment, and the prohibition of detrimental sea lice treatments are all welcome additions to minimum welfare considerations for farmed salmon. This is also the first time we've seen bans on lethal and injurious predator control methods for any species at this scale.”