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Fish welfare in fish farming - What is that?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Salmon Group launched a new report, “Fish welfare in fish farming - What is that?” The group has fish welfare at the top of the agenda and as a continuation of the sustainability work, the network has now come out with a report that challenges both its own industry and the authorities.

Good fish health is a prerequisite for farming, and regardless of roles, the industry players have a common responsibility and goal to ensure the fish’s well-being throughout the life cycle. There is an expressed need that this must be of a higher priority than it has today, but why should the discussion take place within the industry's own echo chamber?

“Fish welfare and fish health are always in focus. This is nothing to be surprised about. It is both a matter of course for the fish farmers and a requirement from society,” said Ingebjørg Oddsdotter Sævareid, head of fish health and nutrition at Salmon Group.

The report points to a trend in the Norwegian industry that responsibility is pulverized and a lack of a holistic approach to the challenges, which could be at the expense of animal welfare.

“We see both that the farmers are conscious and responsible food producers, at the same time we see that the authorities control the industry with management systems that are in the way of efficient development of the industry,” said Sævareid. “It can also be easy to forget that the industry and the authorities have the same goal. It would therefore be far more effective to listen to and understand each other so that one can help each other to develop the industry together,” said Sævareid.

The report was launched with the CEO of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet), Ingunn Midttun Godal and Brit Tørud from the Norwegian Veterinary Research Institute (Veterinærinstituttet).

“We want to take the discussion to a level that is fact- and knowledge-based to face the challenges together in a way where the understanding of the complexity lies to ground. The solutions must be understandable and holistic. Ownership and responsibility must both be identified and placed in order to bring about change that improves fish welfare and at the same time increases consumer awareness when they choose what to have on the dinner plate,” said Jan Olav Langeland, Salmon Group CEO.

Download the report here.

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