RSPCA Assured is the RSPCA’s ethical food label dedicated to farm animal welfare. It is a charity and operates totally independently from the food and farming sectors. Their standards are higher than other UK farm assurance schemes in many key welfare areas and recognised by the government as such.
The Scottish salmon farming sector takes a long-term view of ensuring that fish health and survival improve and that Scotland can lead in fish health status.
In 2018 the average monthly salmon survival rate on farms was 98.83%.
Sea lice are naturally occurring ectoparasitic copepods. Sea lice attach to the surface of a fish's skin, usually behind sheltered areas such as the fins and gills.
Once attached they will feed off the mucus, skin and blood which can cause the following pathogenic effects in salmon: skin damage, bleeding, a decrease in carcass quality at harvest, reduced growth rates, a loss of their physical and microbial protective function, and increased susceptibility to secondary infections due to the disruption of the epithelium (tissues) at the point of attachment.
Fish health and welfare is at the heart of successful Scottish salmon farming.
Scottish salmon farmers rear their fish to the highest welfare standards, on the basis that fish in their care are capable of feeling pain. That is an underlying reason why the industry takes its welfare responsibility so seriously.
Farm pens in Scotland are stocked at some of the lowest farming densities of all salmon farming countries and production standards ensure that fish have plenty of room to shoal in clean, oxygen-rich water.