Aquaculture for all

Canada releases first-ever code for care and handling of farmed salmonids

Salmonids Health Welfare +6 more

The Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) have announced the release of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids.

Salmon leaping out of an ocean cage
Canada's Codes of Practice help ensure that farmed animals are cared for

© Cermaq

Canada’s Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and well-being. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs.

The National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Code development process is a unique consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach that ensures credibility and transparency through scientific rigour, stakeholder collaboration, and consistency. The development of the Farmed Salmonids Code was led by a 14-person Code committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians, and government representatives.

Aiding in their work was a five-person scientific committee that included animal science and veterinary expertise in fish ecology, behaviour, health and welfare.

“We are pleased to have a Code of Practice that will further support the sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture sector,” said Dr Barry Milligan, a veterinarian who has held senior roles in both salmonid production and fish health, and who also serves as the Chair of the Code Development Committee. "Our industry's participation in the code development process demonstrates our producers’ commitment to animal health and welfare and dedication to responsible fish husbandry.”

A summary report from the Code Development Committee is also available here. The Code Development Committee worked to balance producer achievability, available research and stakeholder viewpoints in the code’s development.

“I commend the aquaculture sector for initiating the development of this code. A significant milestone has been achieved in releasing Canada’s first Code of Practice,” said Leigh Gaffney, who represents World Animal Protection Canada on the Code Committee. “This code reflects the hard but very important conversations we had on how to bring meaningful improvements to the welfare of farmed salmonids in Canada.”

Arlen Taylor, Code Development Committee member and owner of a second-generation family business that operates five rainbow trout hatcheries in Ontario welcomed the new code. “This code is a valuable resource for large and small farms alike. It will allow us all to improve our practices while continuing to innovate for the future betterment of animal care.”

The code can be viewed here.

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