An Organic Sea Harvest pen off the coast of Skye.

Soil Association plans new rules for organic salmon certification


Organic salmon accreditation body The Soil Association is planning to update certification criteria to improve welfare standards for Atlantic salmon and wrasse and lumpfish used as cleaner fish.

It also proposes stricter rules for feed and managing sea lice to lessen potential impacts on the environment.

All of the fish produced by Organic Sea Harvest, which operates two sites off northeast Skye, and some of the fish produced by Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, are certified as organic. In Ireland, where Mowi is the biggest producer, all of the salmon grown is organic.

Seeking views

Soil Association head of standards Chris Atkinson said: “Organic farmers are pioneers in sustainable food production, and it is essential that our standards allow them to remain at the leading edge of best practice.

“As part of our policy to constantly keep all organic standards under review, we are proposing an update to our aquaculture standards to align them with the most recent research and updates to organic standards across Europe. We are seeking the views of anyone with an interest in the fish sector and sustainable food production to get involved with the consultation and to help us to ensure organic continues to drive forward standards of fish farming in the UK.”

First stage

The first stage of the review is focusing on the standards for organic Atlantic salmon, with industry and public consultation starting in late November. The next stage of the review, in 2024, will look at other species and respond to expected developments in legislation around aquaculture from Scottish Government.

The aquaculture review is happening in tandem with a review of Soil Association organic standards for packaging and for farming and growing in Northern Ireland.

Details on the proposed changes and how people can get involved with both the aquaculture and Northern Ireland standards consultations will be released in mid-late November. The consultation on packaging standards closed last month.