Huon Aquaculture is the first seafood producer in Australia to join the RSPCA’s approved farming scheme for its focus on fish welfare.
Huon Aquaculture executive director Frances Bender said fish welfare had always been essential to every aspect of what the company did.
“After a lot of extremely hard work by all of our people and as Australia’s first RSPCA approved salmon farmer, we are proud to be leading the way in farming salmon safely, sustainably and with a strong focus on welfare,” said Bender.
“Being able to supply Australia’s only range of RSPCA approved salmon means that consumers that care and want the best for themselves and their families can now do that with confidence by choosing Huon,” she said.
“Achieving this accreditation hasn’t happened overnight—we have worked closely with the RSPCA approved farming scheme over many years to meet their high standards and it is something that everyone working for Huon has been instrumental in achieving,” said Bender.
RSPCA Australia CEO Heather Neil said with a growing number of Australians including fish in their diets, it was important that consumers had the opportunity to choose a product that was raised to a high standard of animal welfare.
“It’s a good outcome for millions of fish and consumers wanting to make a more humane choice,” said Niel.
The scheme is the RSPCA’s farm assurance program dedicated to improving the welfare of as many farm animals as possible by working with farmers to provide an environment that better meets the animal’s behavioural needs.
Recently, animal welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon were added to the scheme and focuses on meeting the fish’s physical and behavioural needs.
The standards require people managing fish, to be trained, that handling of fish is carried out in a manner that is low stress, and that management practices limit any negative impacts on the fish.
The standards aim to ensure that fish be held in water of good quality and that farming practices aim to provide all fish with sufficient oxygen and feed, freedom from injury, stress, deformation or disease, and the ability to exhibit normal swimming and schooling behaviour.