New RSPCA standards for smolt transport – Fishupdate.com

New RSPCA standards for smolt transport Published:  01 May, 2007

New transport standards for smolt have been created

THE RSPCA has, for the first time, developed detailed welfare standards for smolt transfer.

This means the RSPCA welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon – launched in 2002 and used by Freedom Food producers – now cover the entire life cycle of salmon from hatching through to slaughter, including all stages of transport.

The RSPCA has drawn up standards covering all aspects of smolt transfer from freshwater tanks to sea sites. They include requirements for transport by helicopter, road and wellboats and have been developed following extensive consultation with producers.

Explaining why the standards have been developed John Avizienius, deputy head of the RSPCA’s farm animal department, said: “The RSPCA welfare standards for farmed salmon already cover transport of fish in general, but they now contain specific requirements on the transport of smolts via road, air and sea. They take into account all aspects affecting their welfare including health, handling, water quality and management.

“We felt that additional standards were needed because smolts are at a vulnerable stage in their lives where their welfare could be more easily compromised. We want to try and help further minimise the risk of injury and stress to the fish with the inclusion of the new standards.”

Steven Tait, Head of Freedom Food Sales and Marketing, added: “The development of welfare standards for smolt transfer is another major step forward for improving farm animal welfare in general, and freshwater aquaculture specifically.

“But not only is it good news for salmon reared under Freedom Food, it is also good news for consumers who can be reassured that Freedom Food salmon products come from fish that are covered by detailed RSPCA welfare standards at every stage of their lives including transport.

“We hope the new standards will attract more salmon producers to join Freedom Food and that in turn more labelled salmon products will be available nationwide.”

The new standards come into force on July 24 2007.

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