Industry joins the discussion on fish welfare in fish farming and publishes report
Salmon Group is the world's largest network of local, family-owned fish farming and aquaculture companies. Based in Bergen, Norway, they provide service to 45 shareholders, who together possess 116 licenses for salmon and trout farming along the Norwegian coast, and production of approximately 55 million smolt.
Fish welfare in fish farming is an extensive and complex topic. The industry has strengthened its focus on fish welfare, and as this field has become a more prominent part of the public debate, this is a natural development. It has been spurred on by demands from food safety authorities, veterinary authorities and the average consumer. The Norwegian Veterinary Institute and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority issue guidelines for the industry’s treatment of animals. Simultaneously, the fish farmers have to comply with numerous laws, official bodies and other interested parties. With all the competing needs, or requests from different parts of the administration, it is not always given that this complex whole is being maintained in an optimal manner.
Food production must take place under conditions that meet the requests linked to the environment, welfare and end product. The greatest welfare challenges in fish farming today are all related to the handling of lice, and the mortality rate is high for both salmon and cleaner fish, for which the industry itself must take responsibility.
Aspects concerning fish health and welfare affect society’s perception of the industry and to which extent it takes responsibility. The manner in which measures are taken also affects public confidence in the industry. Public confidence and trust are vital in all parts of the food chain. Today’s public are conscious consumers who are concerned with balanced resource management and responsible food production. Today’s consumers care about where the food comes from and how it is produced, and they expect every food producer to provide good answers.