SPCA New Zealand
Advice & welfare

Stunning and Slaughter of Farmed Fish

Farmed Animals

SPCA advocates for humane pre-slaughter practices.

Pre-slaughter practices should minimise the effects of stressors on the fish, including but not limited to: avoiding fasting fish for longer than is necessary to empty the gut; crowding fish for as short a time as possible; utilising the natural behaviour of the fish by keeping nets deep and allowing fish to swim against the current; pulling nets in slowly and steadily; using water-filled brail nets instead of dry; keeping pumping distances as short as possible; slaughtering fish at the site of rearing, whenever possible.

SPCA advocates for the humane stunning and slaughter of farmed fish.

For slaughter to be humane, fish must be stunned to induce unconsciousness and remain stunned until death occurs. SPCA advocates for the use of electrical and percussive stunning as the most humane methods of stunning, where stunning parameters are based on scientific recommendations. Our organisation advocates for the use of in-water, group stunning of fish, to prevent taking fish out of water or isolation distress.

To ensure death, non-fatal stunning must be immediately followed by a killing method e.g. the severing of all gill arches on at least one side of the head, preferably both sides, to enable the fastest possible blood loss.

Our organisation supports research to improve the humaneness of stunning and slaughter methods for farmed fish.

SPCA opposes inhumane methods of stunning and slaughter of farmed fish.

The following methods should not be used for farmed fish: asphyxia in air or ice, hypothermia in ice-water slurry, gill cut or pull, immersion in water containing high concentrations of carbon dioxide, decapitation, salt or ammonia baths and inappropriate electrical parameters that cause conscious paralysis.

SPCA opposes the processing (e.g. gutting, filleting or freezing) of live fish. Our organisation is also opposed to the sale of live fish for food at markets.

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