Compassion in World Farming is expanding its work with the food industry to improve the welfare of farmed fish during rearing and slaughter. 

At a time when the world is facing a crisis of overfishing and with the consumption of fish on the rise, an expansion of fish farming has taken place, which is both unsustainable and, in many areas, inhumane in the way fish are treated.

Compassion is focussing its fish work on improving the welfare of five of the most popular farmed species, including Atlantic Salmon, European Sea Bass, Gilthead Sea Bream and Rainbow Trout.

Thanks to programmes like Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, there is wide acceptance that fish lead complex lives and can feel pain, stress and fear, as well as exhibit positive emotions, social bonds and advanced intelligence.

The ’Attenborough effect’ was compounded in a survey of over 9,000 citizens from nine European countries in 2018, run by ComRes in partnership with Eurogroup for Animals.

THE SURVEY FOUND: • 65% of the people questioned think that fish are sentient beings • 65% think that fish feel negative emotions such as fear • 55% think fish feel positive emotions such as pleasure • The majority of respondents also reported that they would be willing to pay more for higher welfare products with 79% stating they would like information about fish welfare to be visible on the packaging of all fish products, to enable them to make more informed choices about the wellbeing of the fish they buy and consume.


Ensuring the right method of feeding is used to avoid unnecessary competition between fish (to avoid stress) and to ensure all fish get the right amount of food.


Farmed fish are more vulnerable to disease than their counterparts that live in the wild as intensive farms often create the ideal conditions for diseases to spread.


Enriched environments specific to each breed to give fish more opportunity to exhibit appropriate behaviours.


Humane slaughter practices that render the fish unconscious until death prevails are important so that the fish don’t suffer