Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 871-879

First online:

Slaughter of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) in the presence of carbon monoxide

  • Gry Aletta BjørlykkeAffiliated withInstitute of Marine ResearchDepartment of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen Email author 
  • , Bjørn Olav KvammeAffiliated withInstitute of Marine Research
  • , Arnt J. RaaeAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Biology, University of Bergen
  • , Bjorn RothAffiliated withDepartment of Processing Technology, Nofima AS
  • , Erik SlindeAffiliated withInstitute of Marine ResearchDepartment of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Science

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The different stunning methods for Atlantic salmon can still be improved with regard to animal welfare. Salmon exposed to carbon monoxide expressed no aversive reactions towards CO as such. CO exposed fish showed an earlier onset of rigour mortis and a faster decrease in muscle pH due to depletion of oxygen during the treatment. Exposure to CO did increase the level of cortisol compared to undisturbed control fish, but the increase was less than in the water only control group. Neuroglobin, a CO binding globin, was found in salmon brain and Saccus vasculosus, a richly vascularized sac connected to the fish brain. Binding of CO to neuroglobin during sedation might possibly improve animal welfare.


Animal welfare Atlantic salmon Carbon monoxide Neuroglobin Saccus vasculosus Slaughter