In an Australian first, Huon Aquaculture remains the only seafood producer in RSPCA’s Approved Farming Scheme.
One year on from the initial approval in July 2018, fish welfare remains essential to every aspect of what we do. That’s why we are committed to meeting RSPCA’s detailed animal welfare standards, not just today, but every day.
Over the past year, we have continued to work with RSPCA to continuously improve our fish welfare. During this time all of our farming practices and sites, from freshwater hatcheries to marine grow-out, have been assessed by the RSPCA, resulting in changes to harvest processes, water quality monitoring, fish handling and predator management that have assured best practice welfare outcomes for all of our fish.
Being able to supply Australia’s only range of RSPCA Approved Salmon means that consumers that care and want the best for themselves and their families can now do that with confidence by choosing Huon. With a growing number of Australians including fish in their diets, it’s important that caring consumers have the opportunity to choose a product that has been raised to a high standard of animal welfare – Huon are leading the way in offering Australians a humanely farmed salmon product.
This accreditation is important to Huon because animal welfare is important. Over the past several years as salmon consumption has increased, so has the desire for consumers to know more about the salmon that they are eating and by continuing to maintain RSPCA Approval animal welfare is front-of-mind for our staff and our consumers.
Achieving and maintaining this accreditation hasn’t happened overnight—we have worked closely with the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme over many years to meet their high standards and it is something that everyone working for Huon has been instrumental in achieving.
More information regarding the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme and the RSPCA’s farmed Atlantic salmon standards can be found here: www.rspcaapproved.org.au
Huon RSPCA FAQs
What is the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme?
The RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme is the RSPCA’s farm assurance program dedicated to improving the welfare of as many farm animals as possible by working with farmers to provide an environment that better meets the animal’s behavioural needs. In 2018 animal welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon were added to the Scheme with a focus on meeting the fish’s physical and behavioural needs. The standards require that all persons managing fish are trained and competent in their required tasks; that handling of fish is carried out in a manner that is low stress; and that all husbandry and management practices limit any negative impacts on the fish. The standards aim to ensure that fish be held in water of good quality and that farming practices aim to provide all fish with sufficient oxygen and feed; freedom from injury, stress, deformation or disease; the ability to exhibit normal swimming and schooling behaviour and to escape aggressive encounters.
Why did Huon pursue RSPCA Approval?
We pursued RSPCA Approval as it reflects our commitment of placing fish health and welfare at the centre of our farming operations. It is this ethos that has stood us in good stead for the last 32 years and will for many more years to come. By 2025, demand for animal protein is set to double which is why ethical, sustainable farming could not be more crucial. We need to farm the oceans in a way that protects wild stocks, preserves the environment and provides safe, healthy food for a growing global population.
Why isn’t salmon grown in Macquarie Harbour covered under the Scheme?
It is no secret that we have concerns over the health of Macquarie Harbour, as does the RSPCA. RSPCA Australia is of the view that the environmental conditions within the harbour still present a high risk of poor welfare outcomes for the salmon farmed in this location. As a result, they have taken the decision not to allow farming of salmon in Macquarie Harbour as part of the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme.
Around 10 per cent of our overall production is in Macquarie Harbour and as a company, we have taken proactive steps to mitigate against these environmental conditions including installing oxygenation systems on our pens, reducing stocking density and bringing forward our harvest.
Does Huon have exclusive rights to RSPCA accreditation?
Huon does not have exclusive rights to RSPCA accreditation. RSPCA Approval is open to all salmon farmers and they too can become RSPCA Approved providing that they meet the requirements of the Scheme.
Did Huon pay to get RSPCA accreditation?
No, RSPCA Approval is not a pay-for-play accreditation and as such, the only money that has changed hands was a licencing fee for Huon to be able to use the RSPCA Approved logo on our packaging. This Licencing fee covers the costs of ongoing audits, management and promotion of RSPCA Approval.
How will RSPCA Australia monitor the farms?
It is important that the RSPCA’s high standards of animal welfare are maintained at all times, so just like every other farmer participating in the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme, our farms are audited by the RSPCA (at least twice a year) and the farms are also subject to unannounced audits. In addition to on-farm audits, harvest is recorded on CCTV and can be reviewed anytime at the request of the RSPCA.