Using less antibiotics


from 1997 to 2017

Salmon farmers are striving towards the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

Managing Fish Health

Between 1997 and 2017, antibiotic use on BC salmon farms decreased by 89%. Salmon farmers are striving to reduce usage even further—with the goal of eventually eliminating the use of antibiotics.

To prevent disease, BC farmed salmon are reared in a healthy environment that limits stress and reduces susceptibility to pathogens and pests. The fish also receive preventative vaccinations—and consistent diagnostic testing and regular fish health examinations by trained fish health professionals and licensed veterinarians. If disease-causing bacteria are determined to be present on a farm, only veterinarian-prescribed antibiotics authorized by Health Canada may be administered.1

The use of vaccines and improved health management practices has facilitated a significant decline in the use of antibiotics. For example, between 1997 and 2017, the use of antibiotics on BC salmon farms declined from 516g to 59g per ton of salmon (89% reduction).2

BC salmon farmers recognize that excessive use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria. Between 2007 and 2015, the BC Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Health Centre (AHC) analyzed tissue samples from BC farmed salmon to investigate the presence of antibiotic resistance. This study found no evidence of bacterial resistance to the antibiotics used by BC salmon farmers.3,4

Want to learn more? Take a deeper dive on fish health and welfare.


1 Health Canada. Drugs in Aquaculture.


3 BC Ministry of Agriculture. (2016). Antimicrobial Resistance Report: Animal Health.

4 Monterey Bay Aquarium. (2017). Seawatch: Atlantic Salmon.