Salmon industry greenwashing by RSPCA in the UK - just like in Australia


The London Times (12 November 2023, paywalled) reports that RSPCA Assured in the UK received almost £700,000 (A$1.3 million) last year for giving its approval to salmon farms.

However UK campaign group Wildfish accused the RSPCA of greenwashing, along with the Aquaculture stewardship Council (ASC). Both ASC and RSPCA certifications are used by the Australian salmon industry. ASC is an industry funded organisation which uses standards approved by its members.

Wildfish found that the requirements of the UK schemes were not as stringent as consumers might reasonably expect, and that there was little or no enforcement of these standards if breached.

This matches a detailed, world-wide investigation in 2018 by Canadian group Seachoice, which found that few Australian salmon farmers followed their own ASC standards, and that only around half the leases were accredited although the industry routinely claimed accreditation for all their product. Seachoice also pointed out that there appeared to be little or no follow up when these so-called standards were breached.

Recently NOFF worked with other conservation groups to make a detailed, evidence-based submission to a Federal Senate enquiry on greenwashing. We pointed to eco-certifications schemes that simply require certified farms to follow government regulations, and mislead seafood shoppers with their promises, and that politicians are using these vague claims to shore up the industry in news media.

NOFF has challenged the RSPCA to justify its continued support for the multinational salmon industry in Tasmania.