Welfare groups and fish farmers have collaborated on Canada's first code of practice for salmonids

Canada announces first salmon code of practice

The Canadian salmon farming sector has launched its first ever Code of Practice, aimed at improving welfare and animal health on farms.

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The Farmed Salmonids Code covers all stages of production, including hatchery, nursery, grow-out, transportation, and slaughter. 

It was developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) and has attempted to balance producer achievability, available research, and stakeholder viewpoints.

“We are pleased to have a Code of Practice that will further support the sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture sector,” said Dr Barry Milligan, a veterinarian who has held senior roles in both salmonid production and fish health, and who also served as chair of the Code Development Committee.

“Our industry's participation in the code development process demonstrates our producers’ commitment to animal health and welfare and dedication to responsible fish husbandry.”


The 14-person development committee included participants from across Canada, with producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians, and government representatives.
Aiding in their work was a five-person scientific committee that included animal science and veterinary expertise in fish ecology, behaviour, health, and welfare.

A public comment period was held from November 2, 2020, to January 7, 2021, to allow the public and all stakeholders to provide input.

According to SeaWestNews, most of the respondents were from British Columbia, where anti-salmon farming activists have cited animal welfare concerns to push for the closure of salmon farms.

Canada’s Codes of Practice are a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer, marketplace and societal expectations relative to farmed animal welfare.

Leigh Gaffney, who represented World Animal Protection Canada on the Code Committee, said: “This Code reflects the hard but very important conversations we had on how to bring meaningful improvements to the welfare of farmed salmonids in Canada.”

The Farmed Salmonids Code, the thirteenth of Canada’s Codes of Practice, is available at www.nfacc.ca/codesof-practice/farmed-salmonids.