Arctic char

Salvelinus alpinus

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — UK
Production method — Land based flow through and recirculating systems.
Picture of Arctic char

Sustainability rating one info

Sustainability overview

Land based farmed Arctic char is a good choice to make when looking for an oily fish. The use of land based production systems addresses many issues of environmental concern that can be associated with farmed fish production such as organic and chemical waste deposition, escapes and habitat impacts. Artic char has a lower requirement for fish in its diet compared to other salmonid species and in UK and Icelandic production responsibly sourced feed is used.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: 2 info

Artic char are fed on a commercial, pelleted feed that comprises fishmeal, fish oil and vegetable proteins and oils. Global Gap standards recommend the responsible sourcing of the marine components of the diet but do not insist upon it. There are no requirements for the responsible sourcing of vegetable proteins and oils. Although Arctic char are good feed convertors they still require a little more fish protein than they produce.

Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: 2 info

Arctic char farmed in freshwater ponds to Global Gap standards address many environmental concerns such as impacts on the surrounding environment through waste dispersal, and impacts on surrounding habitats and species due to the contained nature of the ponds. Criteria within the standard also minimise escape risk. However lethal predator control is permitted.

Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 1 info

Global Gap standards make provisions for fish health, welfare and humane slaughter as part of Veterinary Health Plan


Criterion Score: 5 info

Management and regulation of this land based system in England is broadly effective. There are regulations in place for the abstraction and disposal of water/waste water, chemical use and biosecurity. An environmental impact assessment is required prior to operation and this production system is certified to an independently audited standard.

Production method

Land based flow through and recirculating systems.

The production of fish using land based, freshwater recirculating and flow through systems addresses the issues of environmental concern that can arise from open water production as interaction, and therefore impact, on the environment is prevented. The negative effects that can be associated with open waters systems such as uncontrolled discharges, escapes of farmed fish, transfer of disease and parasites, habitat damage and adverse effects on local wildlife are prevented by the containment systems in use.


A member of the Salmonidae family (as are salmon and trout), Arctic char (or charr) are both a freshwater and marine fish. Anadromous forms of the fish spend the majority of their lives at sea and those forms that do not migrate live in lakes and rivers. They are native to the cold water of the Artic and sub-artic, occupying coastal waters and lakes. It is also a native species to Scotland where is it found in deep, cold glacial lakes, as can be found in similar deep waters in the rest of the UK. It can reach sizes over 9kg but more typically are offered for sale at 1 -2 kg. In the wild they have a varied diet comprising of fish, insects, and crustaceans. Artic char are very sensitive to water pollution and acidification.


GGAP V5.0 (2016) Global Gap Farm Assurance, All Farm Base- Aquaculture Module, Control Points and Compliance Criteria, English Version 5.0, Edition 5.0- 02 July 2016, Obligatory From 01 July 2016.

Houghton Springs Fish Farm pers comm 12/07/2019

Aller Aqua. Arctic Charr. Aller Arctic Support Datasheet. Available online at: file:///C:/Users/Dawn/Downloads/260-Arctic%20charr-EN.pdf. Accessed 13/07/2019

FAO. Aquaculture Feed and Fertilizer Resources Information System. Available online at: Accessed 18/06/2016

Environment Agency. Environmental permitting guidance: Water discharge activities. Available online :// Accessed 13/07/2019

The Wild Trout Trust. Artic charr. Available online at: Accessed 12/07/2019

River Basin Management Plans: 2015.UK government. Available online at: Accessed 24/06/2019

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 92/43/EEC (1) of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora Council Directive 2006/66/EC . EUR Lex. Available online at : Accessed 24/06/2019

Council Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 of 11 June 2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture. EUR Lex. Available online at: Accessed 24/06/2019