Organic cod methods not 'horrific', says RSPCA

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
15 February 2007, at 12:00am

UK - Claims that conditions in organic cod farms are "horrific" were dismissed as groundless yesterday by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The "No Catch" organic cod from farms in Shetland is sold on the basis that it is better than buying from over-fished stocks.

However, the use of 24-hour low-level artificial light to stop the caged cod maturing has caused a rift between the organic certification bodies the Soil Association and the Organic Food Federation.

The Soil Association recently announced that it could not award its organic label to Johnson Seafarms, which produces cod certified as organic by the federation.

Catherine Fookes, a member of the Government's advisory committee on organic standards, said: "If people thought that a chicken was being raised organically under those conditions, they would be horrified." But Karol Rzepkowski, the managing director of Johnson Seafarms, said: "We were advised by the RSPCA that there would be welfare implications if we allowed the cod to spawn they get aggressive."

The RSPCA said: "We could not see any evidence of the lighting compromising the welfare of the fish."