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Released the First-Ever Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids

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The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) has announced the release of the first-ever Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids. “We are pleased to have a Code of Practice that will further support the sustainability of the Canadian aquaculture sector,” said Dr. Barry Milligan, a veterinarian who has held senior roles in both salmonid production and fish health, and who also serves as the Chair of the Code Development Committee. “Our industry’s participation in the Code development process demonstrates our producer’s commitment to animal health and welfare and dedication to responsible fish husbandry.”

A summary report from the Code Development Committee is also available at www.nfacc.ca/codesof-practice/farmed-salmonids. The report summarizes the feedback received on the draft Code, both from the public comment period and from a 2019 top-of-mind survey, noting how the Code Committee considered this feedback in finalizing the Code. Committee members thank everyone who contributed their feedback, which led to several improvements in the final Code. While not all concerns were able to be addressed, the Code Development Committee worked hard to balance producer achievability, available research, and stakeholder viewpoints in the Code’s development.

“I commend the aquaculture sector for initiating the development of this Code. A significant milestone has been achieved in releasing Canada’s first Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids,” said Leigh Gaffney, who represents World Animal Protection Canada on the Code Committee. “This Code reflects the hard but very important conversations we had on how to bring meaningful improvements to the welfare of farmed salmonids in Canada.”

“We are very proud to be releasing the first Code of Practice for farmed salmonids in Canada,” also noted Arlen Taylor, Code Development Committee member and owner of a second-generation family business that operates five rainbow trout hatcheries in Ontario. “This Code is a valuable resource for large and small farms alike. It will allow us all to improve our practices while continuing to innovate for the future betterment of animal care.”

Canada’s Codes of Practice are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals.

They serve as the foundation for ensuring that farm animals are cared for using sound management and welfare practices that promote animal health and well-being. Codes are used as educational tools, reference materials for regulations, and the foundation for industry animal care assessment programs. 

NFACC’s development process is a unique consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach that ensures credibility and transparency through scientific rigour, stakeholder collaboration, and consistency. The development of the Farmed Salmonids Code was led by a 14-person Code committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians, and government representatives.

Aiding in their work was a five-person Scientific Committee that included animal science and veterinary expertise in fish ecology, behaviour, health, and welfare. A public comment period was held from November 2, 2020, to January 7, 2021, to allow the public and all stakeholders to provide input.

Canada’s Codes of Practice was born to be a powerful tool for meeting rising consumer, marketplace, and societal expectations relative to farmed animal welfare. Codes support responsible animal care practices and keep everyone involved in farmed animal care and handling on the same page.

The Farmed Salmonids Code is the thirteenth Code of Practice developed through NFACC’s Code development process. More information on the Codes of Practice and NFACC’s Code development process can be found in www.nfacc.ca. Funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriAssurance Program, a federal, provincial, territorial initiative.

The organisms

NFACC is a collaborative partnership of diverse stakeholders created in 2005 to share information and work together on farm animal care and welfare. It is the national lead for farm animal care issues in Canada. The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is the national association that speaks for Canada’s seafood farmers, representing their interests in Ottawa to regulators, policy makers and political leaders. 

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