Malcolm Johnstone ends 16 years as aquaculture manager for RSPCA Assured next Tuesday, December 20.

Scottish salmon farming welfare leader stepping down after 16 years

Malcolm Johnstone will stay linked with industry in consultancy role with RSPCA Assured


Malcolm Johnstone, aquaculture manager for the RSPCA Assured farm animal welfare programme, is to stand down from the role next week after 16 years but will stay with the organisation in a consultancy role.

“The decision to move on has been one of the hardest I have ever had to make, and I agonised for a long time, but on reflection I think it is the right one for me at this point in my life,” he said in a Christmas newsletter to customers.

During Johnstone’s time in the job, fish welfare has taken on a higher profile and all of Scotland’s salmon farmers are now members of the RSPCA Assured scheme.

Still involved

“The great news from my point of view is that I will still be involved with RSPCA Assured in a consultancy role for which I am truly grateful,” wrote Johnstone.

“Fish welfare has been such a huge part of my life and it would have been so hard to walk away from completely. I will still be able to contribute to some of the great work that will continue to take place once I leave.”

He added: “I have had the privilege of working alongside some amazing, dedicated, compassionate, and committed colleagues who have taught me so much.

“They have helped me steer a path that I hope has made a difference to animal welfare in the Scottish aquaculture industry. These people are too numerous to name but they have come from all walks of life and areas. Not only within the RSPCA/RSPCA Assured family, but all our members and farmers; from the highest echelons of management to everyone working on the farms and caring for their fish.

A willingness to change

“Without your help, hospitality, knowledge, commitment, and at times patience - alongside a willingness to embrace and implement the RSPCA’s standards - we could not have helped improve the lives of millions of animals.”

Johnstone said RSPCA Assured’s aquaculture assessment team is now at full strength following the recruitment of a new assessor to cover the Argyle and South of Scotland area.

“This means that we now have three full-time assessors and one contract assessor covering all areas of Scotland alongside a full-time assessor based in England who will be covering trout farms based down south.

“This new team will allow us to continue delivering a first-class service to our members with the added benefit of reduced travel times for our assessors.”