Fish Health &

Sustainability

BC Salmon Farmers are passionate

about the health of their fish.

Fish Health & Sustainability

BC Salmon Farmers are passionate about the health of their fish.

Continuous Improvement & Transparency

Licensed veterinarians and fish health professionals are dedicated to applying best practices and the highest standards in fish health care. As a result, farmed salmon in hatcheries and grow-out facilities are very healthy and an average of 90% survive from entry into the marine cages through to harvest.

Transparency is important for salmon farmers. Information sharing and public reporting can be found on company websites and includes data on sea lice counts, wildlife interactions, and escapes as well as wild juvenile salmon monitoring. This level of reporting often goes above and beyond what is required for the certification process.

Continuous Improvement & Transparency

Licensed veterinarians and fish health professionals are dedicated to applying best practices and the highest standards in fish health care. As a result, farmed salmon in hatcheries and grow-out facilities are very healthy and an average of 90% survive from entry into the marine cages through to harvest.

Transparency is important for salmon farmers. Information sharing and public reporting can be found on company websites and includes data on sea lice counts, wildlife interactions, and escapes as well as wild juvenile salmon monitoring. This level of reporting often goes above and beyond what is required for the certification process.

Certification

The BC Salmon Farmers Association members have achieved certification through several independent, globally recognized standards in areas such as sustainability, environmental practices, quality, safety and food safety management. These certifications show a commitment to transparency, upholding high standards for operations, and ensures that companies are producing salmon in a sustainable, safe and ethical manner.

Commitment to Quality

  • All salmon farmers in BC are committed to meeting the requirements of independent, audited, third-party certification systems. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification is an all-encompassing sustainability standard and all BC Atlantic salmon producers are committed to being certified. globalsalmoninitiative.org/about-us
  • Best Aquaculture Practices 4 Star Program certification focuses on environmentally and socially responsible practices and has input from many conservation organizations. www.gaalliance.org
  • Canada’s Organic Aquaculture Standards was published in 2012 and updated in 2018. The principal goal of organic aquaculture production is to develop enterprises (finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants) that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.851011/publication.html
  • Seafood Watch evaluates products for market so consumers can feel confident they are selecting products grown to the highest standards. BC farm-raised chinook and ASCcertified Atlantic salmon are listed as a “Good Alternative” and are on the recommended list of seafood. seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations

Certification

The BC Salmon Farmers Association members have achieved certification through several independent, globally recognized standards in areas such as sustainability, environmental practices, quality, safety and food safety management. These certifications show a commitment to transparency, upholding high standards for operations, and ensures that companies are producing salmon in a sustainable, safe and ethical manner.

Commitment to Quality

  • All salmon farmers in BC are committed to meeting the requirements of independent, audited, third-party certification systems. The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification is an all-encompassing sustainability standard and all BC Atlantic salmon producers are committed to being certified. globalsalmoninitiative.org/about-us
  • Best Aquaculture Practices 4 Star Program certification focuses on environmentally and socially responsible practices and has input from many conservation organizations. www.gaalliance.org
  • Canada’s Organic Aquaculture Standards was published in 2012 and updated in 2018. The principal goal of organic aquaculture production is to develop enterprises (finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants) that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment. publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.851011/publication.html
  • Seafood Watch evaluates products for market so consumers can feel confident they are selecting products grown to the highest standards. BC farm-raised chinook and ASCcertified Atlantic salmon are listed as a “Good Alternative” and are on the recommended list of seafood. seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations

Fish Feed

Salmon Farming Companies constantly strive to remain at the forefront of environmental responsibility. An example of this is the industry’s efforts to prioritize sustainable feed ingredients combined with efficient feeding techniques. As a result of these efforts, BC farmed salmon now require as little as 1.15 – 1.2 kg of feed to gain 1 kg of body weight and this feed conversion ratio (FCR) has improved over three-fold since 1990.

Developing new feeds is complex as salmon farmers must balance the requirements for fish health, safeguarding the environment and the social factors associated with sourcing ingredients.

Ongoing research and development coupled with the need to satisfy both fish health requirements and consumer demand for
responsible sourcing means a wide range of new and sustainable raw materials and ingredients are entering the feed picture.

Fish Feed

Salmon Farming Companies constantly strive to remain at the forefront of environmental responsibility. An example of this is the industry’s efforts to prioritize sustainable feed ingredients combined with efficient feeding techniques. As a result of these efforts, BC farmed salmon now require as little as 1.15 – 1.2 kg of feed to gain 1 kg of body weight and this feed conversion ratio (FCR) has improved over three-fold since 1990.

Developing new feeds is complex as salmon farmers must balance the requirements for fish health, safeguarding the environment and the social factors associated with sourcing ingredients.

Ongoing research and development coupled with the need to satisfy both fish health requirements and consumer demand for
responsible sourcing means a wide range of new and sustainable raw materials and ingredients are entering the feed picture.

Fish Health Management

BC salmon farmers maintain accurate and up-to-date records of growth and fish health.

Data is publicly available here.

Preventative Vaccines

  • Vaccines are an integral part of fish health management and are administered to all fish prior to leaving the hatchery.
  • The pathogens these vaccines protect against are not harmful to humans, but they can pose a threat to the health of the salmon. Vaccines have resulted in a substantial decrease in antibiotic use.

Medical Treatments

  • Antibiotics have an important role in fish health and are only used when necessary.
  • The majority of antibiotic treatments are for two bacterial diseases: Tenacibaculum and salmonid rickettsial septicaemia. With ongoing research into vaccine development, the industry is working towards elimination of antibiotic use in the future.
  • Fish illness is managed with treatment products authorized by Health Canada and prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors the use of fish treatments to ensure treated salmon are safe to be consumed.

PRV
Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) is endemic in the marine environment of many countries and has been found in a variety of wild salmonid and non-salmonid fish. The strain of PRV identified in BC is genetically different from strains found in other areas of the world. Scientifically monitored exposures of Pacific and Atlantic salmon to the BC strain of PRV have not induced disease or mortality.

Fish Health Management

BC salmon farmers maintain accurate and up-to-date records of growth and fish health.

Data is publicly available here.

Preventative Vaccines

  • Vaccines are an integral part of fish health management and are administered to all fish prior to leaving the hatchery.
  • The pathogens these vaccines protect against are not harmful to humans, but they can pose a threat to the health of the salmon. Vaccines have resulted in a substantial decrease in antibiotic use.

Medical Treatments

  • Antibiotics have an important role in fish health and are only used when necessary.
  • The majority of antibiotic treatments are for two bacterial diseases: Tenacibaculum and salmonid rickettsial septicaemia. With ongoing research into vaccine development, the industry is working towards elimination of antibiotic use in the future.
  • Fish illness is managed with treatment products authorized by Health Canada and prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors the use of fish treatments to ensure treated salmon are safe to be consumed.

PRV
Piscine Orthoreovirus (PRV) is endemic in the marine environment of many countries and has been found in a variety of wild salmonid and non-salmonid fish. The strain of PRV identified in BC is genetically different from strains found in other areas of the world. Scientifically monitored exposures of Pacific and Atlantic salmon to the BC strain of PRV have not induced disease or mortality.

Advances in Managing Sea Lice

Sea lice occur naturally in BC waters on many species of fish. Farmed salmon smolts, from the freshwater hatcheries, entering the ocean do not have lice. Lice can be transferred to farmed salmon from the environment and from other fish. The industry management of sea lice continuously improves through research and extensive testing of alternative measures and as a result now has innovative options to manage this pest.

For a detailed description of sea lice management tools see the BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation & Technology 2019 Report

Advances in Managing Sea Lice

Sea lice occur naturally in BC waters on many species of fish. Farmed salmon smolts, from the freshwater hatcheries, entering the ocean do not have lice. Lice can be transferred to farmed salmon from the environment and from other fish. The industry management of sea lice continuously improves through research and extensive testing of alternative measures and as a result now has innovative options to manage this pest.

For a detailed description of sea lice management tools see the BC Salmon Aquaculture: Innovation & Technology 2019 Report

2019 Sustainability Report

2019 Technology Report

2019 Sustainability Report

2019 Technology Report