Atlantic salmon were exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) before the fish were percussively killed and gill cut. The fish were compared against a control group treated identically, without CO. Salmon exposed to CO expressed no adverse reactions and were easily stunned by percussion. CO-treated salmon had an earlier onset of rigor mortis and a faster decrease in muscle pH than the control group. No significant difference in drip loss was found between salmon treated with CO and the control. A significantly deeper red colour of both gills and fillets of CO-treated salmon was observed 10 days post mortem. Significantly higher levels of plasma lactate and potassium were found in CO-treated salmon compared to control, as well as a lower level of pCO2. Exposure to CO did not increase plasma cortisol, sodium, haematocrit
or glucose; however, lactate was high. Exposure of salmon or other fish to CO could improve quality and welfare when slaughtered.