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. 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: 0

The feed used for Arctic char is traceable and responsible, but the sustainability of the source cannot be verified. The current feed formulation means that more fish is included in the diet that is produced from the farmed fish leading to an overall protein loss.


Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: 6

This fully enclosed recirculating production system means that all of the issues associated with farming fish in open water systems have been addressed. There is no depletion of freshwater, no habitat impacts and any chemical or organic pollution is contained.


Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 2

Fish health and welfare, including human slaughter is addressed via production standards.



Criterion Score: 5

Regulations are in place and deemed to be effective, or not applicable for the environmental impacts of production. GlobalGap certification applies although this certification does not carry a consumer facing label.


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.


ASC Freshwater trout certificate. 2013. Available online at: Accessed 05/09/2018

ASC Freshwater Trout Standard. Version 1 . 2013. Available online at: Accessed 05/09/2018

GlobalGap Integrated Farm Assurance Aquaculture Module.2017. Available online at Accessed 05/09/2018

UK Quality Trout Standards.2014. Available online at: Accessed 05/09/2018.