Fish Welfare

Respecting our fish and our seas

We at the Scottish White Fish Producers Association are aware that fish feel pain. This question has been researched over the years and settled by many neurobiologists. That’s why we consider it an important part of our role at SWFPA to ensure fish welfare is always a top priority among our members.

Keep reading to learn about our fishing process, from transferring the fish from the gear to storing it on a vessel.

Our Fishing Process

There are four main steps to our fishing process: transfer, sort and grade, prepare, and chill/store.

Here’s how it works:



There are a few things that are important to note about the fish themselves during this process. Having already been caught, most fish are no longer alive when transferring from gear to vessel (Step 1 of the process). The rest of the fish die during gutting (Step 3).

The European Commission presented a report in March 2018 on the humane killing of fish in aquaculture. There have also been projects regarding the welfare on fishing vessels. Although it is not mandatory on fishing vessels, we are currently preparing trials to stun the fish before gutting. It’s something we are pursuing as a step towards more painless, humane processing.


All SWFPA members are very aware of crustacean welfare. They ensure all crustaceans are kept alive in seawater onboard our vessels from the location of catching. The crustaceans, still alive, are then sold to buyers.



Want to Learn More?

Browse our website to learn more about fish welfare and sustainability at SWFPA.

If you want to find out more about membership or have any other enquiries, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.