Whiteleg shrimp.
Whiteleg shrimp.

Shrimp stunner earns welfare award for UK seafood supplier Hilton

Hilton Seafood UK, the leading supplier of chilled fish to the UK retail market, has received a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award from campaigning organisation Compassion in World Farming (CWF).


Grimsby-based Hilton received its award for being the first to commercially trial and adopt an electric stunner for warm water whiteleg shrimp (king prawns), which delivers a more humane method of slaughter than the usual thermal stunning by immersion in ice slurry.

In addition to the welfare benefits it provides, which includes less handling and crowding of the prawns, it provides a more effective and consistent stun, which reduces labour during harvest, while not being detrimental to product quality. 

The system, which has been approved and rolled out across the Hilton / Tesco supply chain, will benefit more than 100 million animals in its first year, said CWF in a press release.

Improved welfare and efficiency

“Hilton Seafoods UK take fish and crustacean welfare extremely seriously and actively seek out improved welfare methods and the latest research on welfare and animal handling,” said William Davies, fisheries, aquaculture and supply chain manager at Hilton Seafood UK.

“Working with our supplier partners we are very happy with the performance of the shrimp stunner, enabling both improved welfare at harvest and a harvest efficiency benefit for the farmer. Awareness of crustacean sentience is growing, and the implementation of the farmed shrimp stunner adds to the existing electrical stunning we have in all the wild caught crab and lobster we purchase.”

CWF’s director of food business, Tracey Jones, said: “The sentience of crustaceans is often overlooked and in the absence of any legislation or standards, this electric stunner for shrimp, pioneered by Hilton Seafood, has the potential to benefit billions of animals if adopted more widely across the industry.”

The award was one of two given out in the Best Innovation category.