Slaughter of farmed salmon

Norwegian authorities require a slaughter process that ensures that the salmon is safe to eat, without causing the fish unnecessary stress and pain.

salmon ready for slaughtering
Slaughter of salmon is regulated by the Aquaculture Operations Regulations, and the FSA are responsible for monitoring fish slaughterhouses. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

How is the fish slaughtered?

While the salmon is waiting to be slaughtered, it is placed in a holding pen. The fish are anesthetized, both to avoid unnecessary suffering and because stress can affect the quality of the finished product. This is done by a knock to the head or by electrical stunning. According to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (the FSA), these are the best methods for fish welfare. The fish are then killed as quickly as possible.

 

Requirements for the slaughter process

Slaughter of salmon is regulated by the Aquaculture Operations Regulations, and the FSA is responsible for monitoring fish slaughterhouses. The regulations stipulate that slaughterhouses use ethically defensible anaesthesia and killing methods. The fish should be killed instantly or kept unconscious until they are killed. As long as the anesthesia works, the fish will not experience pain, fear or discomfort. There are also hygiene requirements in place. The quality of the finished product is not affected whether the slaughtering takes place at a slaughterhouse on land or on a boat.

 

Useful links:

The Aquaculture Operations Regulations

Norwegian Food Safety Authority – Slaughter of fish (in Norwegian only)