We have recently objected to planning proposals for a land-based fish farm in Grimsby. This would be the largest of its kind in the UK. We are also completely opposed to the Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) for growing-salmon, which this farm would use, on both animal welfare and environmental grounds.
Welfare & environmental concerns
RAS typically use very high stocking densities and confine fish to barren tanks devoid of environmental enrichment. Packing salmon into these small spaces can lead to stress, increased disease prevalence, and impaired growth.
As salmon are carnivorous, they are given feed containing wild-caught fish. This practice puts additional pressure on our already overfished populations and impacts other wild animals that rely on those fish to survive.
There are other environmental concerns with this way of farming too. RAS are energy intensive with significant input required for heating, lighting, and filtration. This increased demand for energy could potentially exacerbate reliance on non-renewable sources, further contributing to carbon emissions and climate change.
RAS also rely heavily on precious resources like freshwater. Salmon reared in RAS can have a stale taste. To prevent this, they are housed in a flow-through system for 10 days prior to slaughter where the water is not reused. It is estimated that to produce one RAS salmon fillet, it takes as much freshwater as one person would drink in a whole year.
Underwater factory farms
“Taking fish out of the sea and putting them into enclosed tanks is very much the same as taking animals out of fields and putting them into sheds and cages,” said Nick Palmer, Head of our UK office.
“Factory farming is the biggest single cause of animal cruelty on the planet, and it’s literally destroying our planet. We need to be moving away from intensive farming methods, not developing new industrial underwater factory farms in which to imprison salmon.
“Given these significant concerns, we strongly urge the council to reject this planning application and instead, encourage the exploration of more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives for economic development in the area.”
Find out more about our Rethink Fish campaign.