Scottish salmon farmers work to humane standards of salmon harvesting. Stunning fish before harvest is a vital element of the salmon farming sector’s overall ethos of good welfare standards throughout the lifecycle. All Scottish salmon farmers stun the fish as part of the harvesting process.
There are currently two methods of stunning used; percussive and electric. Both methods are humane and minimise any stress on the fish. The process is carried out by trained personnel who manage the process quickly and effectively.
Salmon farmers adopted stunning as part of the harvest process when the sector began, more than 50 years ago. It is important for both the welfare of the fish and the quality of the product which reaches the supermarkets. Flesh quality and flavour can be compromised if an animal is stressed.
The stunning process in salmon farming is independently audited by welfare and product quality schemes. The RSPCA Assured scheme, in which around 70% of farmed salmon participates, sets strict controls to ensure the highest levels of welfare, including the requirement to stun all fish as part of the slaughter process.