Mowi scoops animal welfare award
Bergen, Norway-headquartered Mowi ASA has been recognized by international farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) for its leadership in the aquaculture sector, including being the first producer to make global welfare commitments on the rearing and slaughter of Atlantic salmon.
For this, it received a special recognition award at a ceremony in London, U.K., on 15 June, 2022.
Mowi produces approximately 465,000 metric tons (MT) of gutted-weight salmon annually across sites in Norway, Scotland, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Canada, and Chile. For all of its salmon, it uses a stun-kill percussive system, in accordance with CIWF’s recommendation, to ensure they are humanely killed.
Mowi Group Manager Fish Health and Welfare Gordon Ritchie said his company was proud to receive the award in recognition of its standard on the humane slaughter of fish.
“By recognizing the importance of fish sentience, Mowi has implemented several other husbandry standards directed towards the welfare and wellbeing of our fish,” he said. "CIWF also recommends a stocking density volume of an average of 10kg/m³ or less, and Mowi is the first producer to commit to a global 'free from confinement' stocking density policy for Atlantic salmon, in line with these recommendations."
Mowi tracks stocking densities across all sites and countries at all times. Across its seawater sites, it has an average monthly standing stocking density of approximately 8kg/m³, which it said is significantly lower than the maximum permitted stocking density of 25kg/m³ allowed in sea pens.
“As the largest producer of ocean-reared salmon, it is our responsibility to develop industry leading standards on welfare and sustainable practices and to make continuous improvements, all underpinned by investment in robust research and development by dedicated teams across the entire value chain,” Ritchie said.
Compassion Global Director of Food Business Tracey Jones said awareness of the sentience of fish and of the welfare issues relating to fish farming is relatively new compared to other farmed animals, but that getting a big player like Mowi actively making changes to its policies is “a big step forward” in achieving wider recognition of the need to improve the plight of farmed fish.
“As the first salmon producer to make global welfare commitments for both humane slaughter and reduced stocking densities of this magnitude, Mowi really is setting an example for others to follow and wholly deserves the special recognition award,” Jones said.
In total, Compassion handed out 27 Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards at the event.
Photo courtesy of Mowi