Springhills Fish
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Springhills Fish
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How do you humanely harvest a fish?

One reason that Springhills fish tastes so fresh is the gentle way we harvest it.

Every fish is stunned immediately as it comes out of the water. That means it loses all its senses so there is no struggling, stress or suffering.

We use percussive stunning for smaller batches, which is a captive bolt at the base of their brainstem. Or we use electrostunning for larger batches, which sends a small jolt of electricity through a pipe as they pass through it.

See the harvesting in action: “What’s a humane harvesting machine look like on a fish farm?”

Once they are stunned and unconscious, the fish got through a secondary process to dispatch them. They are bled out and put in ice baths before filleting.

The idea of treating a fish humanely is very new. We’ve had animal welfare codes for pigs and chickens for decades, but Canada only issued the first welfare code for fish two years ago!

(We felt honoured because Arlen, our resident expert in fish health, was asked to be on the writing committee for that welfare code!)

But this understanding of fish welfare is growing fast.

This year grocery stores have started asking for proof, and our eco-certification Best Aquaculture Practices keeps raising the bar with stricter standards. We’re also hearing of new expectations of our wild fishermen and women to make sure they’re harvesting humanely, too.

We’ve always made fish welfare a big priority at Springhills. That includes gentle and slow handling, giving them plenty of clean water, special feeding and diets, low densities, enrichment activities and more. It’s the right thing to do, plus it makes for a better tasting product!