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New RSPCA Welfare Standards for Farmed Atlantic Salmon

The new RSPCA farmed Atlantic salmon welfare standards come into effect on 19 May 2024. In preparation for this, we will be sending a three-month notification letter to all salmon members on Monday 19 February 2024.

We are grateful to all of our members for the dedication they show to improving the lives of the animals in their care and the collaboration they show us every day. Hopefully, these standards will help you further improve the great work you are doing and achieve your higher welfare goals. 

Why are you introducing new standards?

The RSPCA continually reviews all its welfare standards and aims to publish fully revised and updated versions of the standards every two years.

When will the new standards come into effect?

The new standards must be implemented by 19 May 2024, unless otherwise stated within a standard.

All new site applications will be assessed against the new standards from 19 May 2024.

A copy of the new standards will be emailed to all salmon members before 19 May 2024 and a printed copy will be sent via post.

What are the main headline changes being made to the salmon standards in 2024? 

Key highlights of the new standards include:

  • The introduction of non-medicinal treatment standards for sea lice and gill disease.
  • Mandatory regular welfare outcomes assessments at both freshwater and seawater sites. 
  • Improvements to the stunning and slaughter processes, including introducing the requirement for CCTV coverage for the entire slaughter process.
  • Clarifying the requirement to undertake daily checks for sick or dying fish in all tanks and enclosures, with immediate action required for any issues identified.
  • Formal written production plans to prevent unnecessary culling of freshwater parr. 
  • Updated guidelines for responsible antibiotic use, including requiring annual reviews and written action plans for reducing antibiotic use where required.
  • Improved oversight and protocols for the transfer and unloading of smolts to minimise stress and escape risks.
  • Implementation of over 80 new standards aimed at enhancing cleaner fish welfare.

*Please note this is not an exhaustive list of the new standards, but a top-line overview of what to expect from the fully revised and updated standards.

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