Key farmed fish welfare problems and how RSPCA Assured helps

Key farmed fish welfare problems and how RSPCA Assured helps

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Water quality, handling procedures, stocking density, and the way fish are transported and slaughtered can have a big impact on their welfare.

It can be stressful for farmed fish when they’re handled and removed from water when they're being vaccinated or graded according to their size.

What makes RSPCA Assured different?

The RSPCA welfare standards for salmon and trout - which must be met for fish to be labelled RSPCA Assured - ensure the fish are healthier and less stressed.

The standards require good water quality and careful handling procedures which ensure the health and welfare of the fish.

Salmon on RSPCA Assured farm

The RSPCA welfare standards cover all aspects of the fish’s lives, including health, diet, environment, care and handling.

RSPCA Assured assessors and the RSPCA’s farm livestock officers check that the RSPCA welfare standards are being met.

The RSPCA Assured label makes it easy to recognise products from animals that have had a better life.

Potential farmed fish welfare issues:

  • Poor environment, handling, diet, health, transport and slaughter

RSPCA welfare standards are designed to ensure fish are healthier and less stressed

How you can help

You can make a difference by choosing  salmon and trout which is labelled RSPCA Assured.

Look for the RSPCA Assured label or check the ingredients list (eg on products like sandwiches) to see if RSPCA Assured salmon or trout has been used.

If you'd like to know more, you'll find lots of information about the welfare of farmed fish on the RSPCA website

RSPCA Assured salmon inspector

Did you know?


  • Fish have good memories
  • They’re capable of learning and remembering fairly complicated tasks
  • They can learn from the actions of other fish

Farmed fish have better lives under the RSPCA Assured scheme:

  • Improved water quality means fish are healthier
  • Careful handling procedures reduce stress
  • Lower stocking density improves the welfare of salmon and trout.