Owner/approver: COO Farming
Valid from: 2022-03-29
Lerøy works continuously to adapt all parts of production in order to ensure optimal fish welfare. Keeping fish in cages entails responsibility for ensuring that the fish have the best possible conditions. As part of our ongoing improvement measures, we make use of several international standards relating to fish welfare and biosafety.
This policy applies to all the Group's farming operations.
Animal welfare: Quality of life perceived by the animal itself.
Welfare indicator: An indirect measurement of animal welfare.
Cleaner fish: Wild-caught or farmed species in the Labridae family or farmed wrasse (Cyclopterus lumpus) used for biological delousing.
Biological delousing: Combating lice in marine production of salmon and trout using fish species that eat lice.
Framework and principles
We make use of procedures as governance tools for production. These procedures help us standardise the processes to which the fish are subjected, and they are updated as soon as we obtain new knowledge that has to be taken into account. As such, the entire organisation has rapid and efficient access to new knowledge. The following elements are key to our work on fish welfare:
Lerøy takes all efforts possible to minimise handling of fish. Stress and impact on the outer barriers for the fish will most likely reduce how resistant the fish are to disease. We therefore focus strongly on measures to reduce risk whenever we have to handle the fish, such as controlling changes in pressure and temperature and the amount of time and the extent to which fish are in crowded conditions. Minimising the amount of handling results in improved fish welfare and fish health, and is a key goal for the company.
Systematisation and grading of different welfare criteria are carried out in accordance with the guidelines in the following manual: “Velferdsindikatorer for oppdrettslaks: Hvordan vurdere og dokumentere fiskevelferd” (Welfare indicators for farmed salmon: How to assess and document fish welfare). This publication is the end product of the “FISHWELL” project financed by the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) and conducted by Nofima.
The welfare indicators registered daily are temperature, oxygen, growth, density and category for cause of death. The welfare indicators we measure at regular intervals are lice, gases, salinity, visibility, current, vaccine side-effects, outer blemishes, cataracts, gill status, algae, jellyfish, agents and sedimentation under the facility.
The different welfare indicators have provided us with the opportunity to objectively measure and compare the mutual implications of the different parameters and what they indicate about overall fish welfare. This allows us to make interventions in production in order to prevent factors that impair fish welfare.
Systematisation of welfare parameters for all organisations will provide a stronger basis on which to compare different production methods. Machine learning and increased opportunities for analysis of large volumes of data in a short time could possibly represent a positive move towards identifying better solutions for improved fish health and fish welfare.
Roles and responsibilities
Policy ownership and implementation