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Scots Salmon Farm Report Provides Opportunity

Scots salmon farm report provides opportunity – Responding to the publication of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee report on the way forward for Scottish salmon farming, Heather Jones, Chief Executive of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, said it provided an opportunity for the industry to focus on sustainable growth.

The report  acknowledges both the economic and social value that the salmon farming industry brings to Scotland. It provides jobs to rural areas, investment and spend into communities and stimulates economic activity in the wider supply chain.

However, the committee also recognised that the industry creates a number of economic, environmental and social challenges for other businesses which rely on the natural environment and the Committee. The Committee recommends, therefore, that if the industry is to grow, it is essential that it addresses and identifies solutions to the environmental and fish health challenges it faces as a priority.

The Committee also strongly agrees with the view of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) Committee that if the industry is to grow, the “status quo” in terms of regulation and enforcement is not acceptable. It is their view that urgent and meaningful action needs to be taken to address regulatory deficiencies as well as fish health and environmental issues before the industry can expand.

The impact of expansion plans on other sectors which share the marine environment needs to be recognised and the impact reduced, says the Committee. The Scottish Government, SEPA and all other responsible authorities should therefore ensure that the needs of other industries are fully considered in setting the strategic context for the sector.

Commenting on the report, Heather Jones of Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, said: “The Rural Economy and Connectivity committee report means, as a collective, the aquaculture sector can now focus its attention on delivering sustainable growth in an increasingly important area of Scotland’s economy. The industry provides thousands of highly-skilled jobs to rural communities and produces a premium global export product to very high standards of environmental protection and fish husbandry.

“Further innovation will be a critical part of how we take salmon farming forward, with SAIC playing a critical role in bringing universities and industry together to maintain Scotland’s position as a pioneer in global aquaculture. Working with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders, we will also continue our work with the delivery of the 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework which, along with the many research and development projects that are already underway across the country, will support many of the report’s recommendations.”

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