Insect feed incompatible with high welfare salmon farming
Last week, the Global Animal Partnership published standards for the welfare certification of farmed Atlantic salmon. The multi-tiered certification programme that operates in the North American market makes full use of the science in a comprehensive approach to salmon welfare in aquaculture. Significantly, the standard aims beyond the avoidance of negative experiences at creating positive experiences by requiring environmental enrichment, an important step in driving uptake and practical application of knowledge in this area.
Addressing feed additives, G.A.P.’s standard bans the use of insects. Aquaculture is currently the main growth sector for the intensive insect production industry, however the proponents of the standard consider that it has yet to prove its real environmental and animal welfare credentials.
Despite insect feed for aquaculture being authorised in the EU, European Commission experts consider that there is an “overwhelming lack of knowledge” surrounding every aspect of the insect production industry. Over the past months, Eurogroup for Animals has raised a number of concerns with the European institutions, advocating the precautionary principle. Industrial insect feed production may hinder the EU’s move towards more sustainable farming with high animal welfare.
The G.A.P. certification programme, therefore, will continue to exclude insect feed for Atlantic salmon until there is a more “thorough understanding” of its sustainability and animal-welfare implications. Fundamentally, however, feeding carnivorous species in aquaculture is not sustainable.