Canada’s aquaculture code aims to ensure fish welfare

Canada has drawn up its first national code of practice for the care and safe handling of salmonids – mainly salmon and trout species.

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, which initiated the project three years ago, and the National Farm Animal Care Council have worked together on the project which they say will greatly improve sustainability and fish welfare.

Dr Barry Milligan, a veterinarian who has held senior roles in both salmonid production and fish health, said: “Our industry’s participation in the Code development process demonstrates our producers’ commitment to animal health and welfare and dedication to responsible fish husbandry.

The code includes several issues including water quality, stocking density, fish handling, health and monitoring, slaughter and lighting and feed withdrawal and sea lice.

Codes of practice in Canada are regarded as a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer expectations and fish and animal welfare.

Helping with the work was a committee that included animal science and veterinary expertise in fish behaviour, health and welfare.

Leigh Gaffney, who represents World Animal Protection Canada on the Code Committee, said:  “I commend the aquaculture sector for initiating the development of this Code. A significant milestone has been achieved in releasing Canada’s first Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids. This Code reflects the hard but very important conversations we had on how to bring meaningful improvements to the welfare of farmed salmonids in Canada.”

Fish farmer Arlen Taylor who owns five rainbow trout hatcheries in Toronto and who sits on the code development committee, said: “We are very proud to be releasing the first Code of Practice for farmed salmonids in Canada. This Code is a valuable resource for large and small farms alike. It will allow us all to improve our practices while continuing to innovate for the future betterment of animal care.”



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