Health and welfare is the Scottish salmon farming sector's number one priority
Working in nature, whether on land or at sea, inevitably means that overcoming challenges is part of a farmer's regular routine.
As salmon farmers, everything revolves around our fish. This means applying high standards of fish health and welfare throughout their lives, a principle we will always be guided by.
All our farmers have a responsibility to look after their livestock, whatever the challenge and we're committed as a sector to investing, innovating and seeking out new solutions to ensure we can manage those issues to the best of our ability. And whatever the weather our farmers are out at sea checking on their stock every day of the year.
As well as meeting all relevant Scottish Government legislation requirements, salmon in Scotland is farmed to world class standards, including those laid out in the Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture (the Code). Importantly, the Code's 500 check points covering every aspect of Scottish salmon farming , are independently audited.
In addition, other independent certification is sought from a range of world-leading accreditation bodies including:
- RSPCA Assured
- ASC - Aquaculture Stewardship Council
- Label Rouge
- BAP - Best Aquaculture Practices
- Organic e.g. Soil Association
There are over 200 active salmon farms across Scotland, with on average one-third of them unstocked or fallow at any one time. All stocked farms are regularly inspected by regulators, accreditation and certification schemes and by other welfare organisations.
Scottish salmon farmers also adhere to one of the best reporting regimes in the world. They submit weekly health and welfare data which is collated and openly published on a monthly basis, detailing stock survival rates and any issues with sea lice.
Sea lice are a naturally occurring wild parasite. Parasites, while unwelcome, are a reality across all wild and farmed animals and fish. The role of Scottish salmon farmers is to monitor, prevent and control their numbers wherever possible. Much like ticks in the countryside which impact other animals such as sheep, cattle or dogs it is important that once identified on a farm action is taken, animals are looked after and any spread is minimised.
Average sea lice levels have been low for the last three years. Scotland's salmon farmers continue to invest in maintaining these low numbers and continue to provide increasing transparency and publication rates of data.