←Go back to RSPCA

RSPCA Australia knowledgebase

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase

Search:     Advanced search

Do the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for farmed Atlantic salmon address the welfare of seals and other predators near salmon farms?

Article ID: 663
Last updated: 10 May, 2018
Revision: 3
print  Print
share  Share
Views: 1137

In Tasmania, farmed Atlantic salmon may be vulnerable to attack by sea birds and fur seals. Protecting the welfare of the fish is as important as protecting the welfare of the predator. Salmon farms may be subject to hundreds of seal interactions each year, with seals capable of biting fish through the pen nets, jumping into pens, ripping holes in the netting and sometimes threatening staff. Cormorants are the main aerial predators that are attracted to salmon in the marine pens. Although the marine pens are completely covered by bird netting, some birds find their way in through holes or may become ensnared in the netting. Once inside, birds that are able to perch within the enclosure will generally survive but those that cannot, may die.

The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for farmed Atlantic salmon do not allow acoustic deterrent devices to be used to keep predators away from the fish. Lethal control methods (anaesthetic overdose) may only be used as a measure of last resort if the animal poses a serious threat to staff and all other exclusion and control methods have failed. Control of protected wildlife species must only be carried out under a permit from the relevant regulatory authority.

The RSPCA believes exclusion measures, both above and below the water, should be the primary method of deterring predators. Pen net technology is increasingly sophisticated and effective in keeping predators out, thus significantly reducing the number of interactions between fish and predator.

This article was:  


Also read
folder Do fish feel pain?
folder Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for salmon?
folder How are farmed Atlantic salmon killed?
folder How are farmed Atlantic salmon bred?
folder Is intensive aquaculture similar to intensive land-based livestock production?
folder Do the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for farmed Atlantic salmon address the potential environmental impact of aquaculture systems?
folder Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for fish?
folder What are farmed Atlantic salmon fed?

Prev     Next
Do the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards for farmed...       Does the RSPCA have animal welfare standards for fish?