Policies

Policy: Fish health and fish welfare

Fish health and fish welfare policy

Purpose

Lerøy Seafood Group (Lerøy) works continuously on the adaptation of all parts of production in order to ensure optimal fish welfare. Keeping fish in cages entails great 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.

Valid for

This policy applies to all the employees in the Group's farming operations.

Definitions

Animal welfare: Quality of life perceived by the animal itself.

Welfare indicator: An indirect measurement of animal welfare.

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:

  • Water quality and volume shall be adapted to the requirements for fish at different life stages.
  • Nutrition shall be customised to fish species and life stages.
  • Antibiotics shall not be used to promote growth.
  • Breeding shall focus on producing robust fish with increased resistance to different infectious factors.
  • Employees who work with fish shall have sufficient competencies in order to safeguard good fish welfare, and are obliged to complete training relating to fish welfare.
  • Weak fish shall be removed from the production units as quickly as possible and euthanized in an appropriate manner.
  • Active measures are required to prevent infection in our facilities or transfer the infection to other facilities.
  • All fish shall be vaccinated as appropriate for the areas where they are to be released.
  • At all facilities, authorised fish health personnel shall regularly monitor the fish to check on health status and to take immediate action when necessary.
  • All devices and equipment shall be designed in a way to ensure good fish welfare.

 

Welfare indicators:

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

  • All employees who work with live fish at Lerøy are responsible for ensuring good fish welfare. Fish health personnel are responsible for ensuring that all employees have the right focus and sufficient training so as to provide for good fish welfare. Production employees are responsible for daily execution and for ensuring that the decisions made are based upon correct values.
  • All employees who work with live fish are responsible for following the policy.
  • The top management in each company is responsible for ensuring that the company has personnel with the competencies required to ensure compliance with local regulations.

 

Policy ownership and implementation

  • The COO Farming is the owner of this document, and is responsible for updates and maintenance.
  • The COO Farming is assigned principal responsibility for the policy and is also responsible for ensuring its implementation and compliance.
  • The policy requires the approval of the corporate management at Lerøy, and shall be presented to the Group's Board of Directors.
  • The CEO of Lerøy Seafood Group has overall responsibility for the policy.