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Draft released – Canada’s first farmed salmonids ‘Code of Practice’


The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) are pleased to announce the launch of the public comment period for the draft Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Farmed Salmonids. The public comment period allows stakeholders – producers, consumers, and others with an interest in the welfare of farmed salmonids (salmon, trout, charr) – to view the draft Code and provide input to inform the final Code.

The draft Code and the public comment system are now accessible at: www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice/farmed-salmonids. All comments must be submitted through the online system. The public comment period closes January 7, 2021. The Code Development Committee will consider the submitted comments after the close of the comment period, and the final farmed salmonids Code of Practice will be released in the fall of 2021.

Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals are the result of a unique consensus-based, multi-stakeholder approach used across various agricultural sectors, which brings together all relevant stakeholders with an interest in animal care standards.

A Scientific Committee report summarizing research conclusions on priority welfare topics can be found online alongside the draft Code. This peer-reviewed report aided the discussions of the Code Development Committee as it prepared the draft Code of Practice. The report, developed by scientists familiar with fish welfare, should be reviewed prior to making a submission.

“The Code Development Committee has worked hard for nearly two years developing the draft Code. The public comment period is a key step that will allow us to check our work with a broader representative group,” 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. “Welfare is an integral component of fish health and one that is increasingly being looked at both from the industry and from the public perspective,” he added.

“We’re very proud to be developing the first Code of Practice for farmed salmonids in Canada,” 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 will be a valuable resource for large and small farms alike. As a living document, it will allow us all to improve our practices while continuing to innovate for the future betterment of animal care.”

Once finalized, the new Code will promote sound management and welfare practices through recommendations and requirements for rearing units, feeding, transportation, and other animal husbandry practices. CAIA initiated the Code’s development in November 2018, utilizing NFACC’s Code development process.

“The Code development process helps diverse communities work together to improve the lives of farmed animals,” said Leigh Gaffney, who represents World Animal Protection Canada on the Code Committee. “We hope to receive broad input from the general public, industry and other stakeholders to ensure this Code improves fish welfare and reflects the values of Canadians.”

“I want to recognize the contribution and dedication of the Code Development Committee in bringing this Code to realisation, said CAIA President & CEO, Tim Kennedy. “Fish welfare is among top priorities for Canadian salmon, trout, and charr farmers. This new Code of Practice will provide farmers a recognized framework to demonstrate their commitment to maintaining high welfare standards at all times.”

The Code’s development is led by a 14-person Code Development Committee that includes participants from across Canada including producers, animal welfare and enforcement representatives, researchers, veterinarians, and government representatives. More information on the Code development process is available at www.nfacc.ca/codes-of-practice.

The farmed salmonids Code is one of four Codes of Practice being developed as part of a multi-year NFACC project. Codes of Practice serve as our national understanding of animal care requirements and recommended practices. It is important that Codes be scientifically informed, implementable by producers, and reflect societal expectations for responsible farm animal care. The Codes cover housing, feed and water, handling, euthanasia, transport, and other important management practices.

Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriAssurance Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal–provincial–territorial initiative.

National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) is a collaborative partnership of diverse stakeholders that work together on farm animal care and welfare. It supports robust processes to draft or renew Codes of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals. For more information on NFACC visit www.nfacc.ca.

Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is the national association that speaks for Canada’s seafood farmers, representing their interests in Ottawa and internationally. CAIA members generate over $6 billion in economic activity, $2.45 billion in GDP, and employ over 25,000 Canadians delivering a healthy, growing and sustainable seafood farming sector in Canada. For more information visit: www.aquaculture.ca.


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