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Scottish Government completes the first stage of aquaculture review

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The first stage of an ambitious review of how fish farms are regulated is complete and the Scottish Government has accepted all its recommendations in principle. The independent review is part of a program to make the Scottish aquaculture regulatory system one of the most effective and transparent in the world and also benefit rural communities.

Russel Griggs OBE, who led the first stage, has submitted his recommendations to Ministers after comprehensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.

Proposals include the introduction of a new single licensing payment based on the level of production at a site, which covers the cost of all organizations involved in the process and adds value to local communities.

The suggestions includes the establishment of a new scientific advisory body

The development of frameworks tailored to different aquaculture sectors including shellfish and seaweed are also recommended. Another suggestion is for the establishment of a new scientific advisory body to advise Government and commission new work.

Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, commented that “this is a comprehensive piece of work by Griggs and I am very grateful to him for the significant amount of time and effort that has gone into delivering it. I welcome the ambitious range of recommendations he has made and we accept them all in principle.”

She said that “aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will be an essential part of our green recovery and transition to net zero. It is important that change to the sector is delivered in a practical way that reflects the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party and our own manifesto commitments.”

For the Scottish government “developing world-leading legislation for aquaculture is key to developing a sector that is both environmentally and economically sustainable. We will take a short amount of time to consider the proposals, and maintain the momentum of this important work.”

A “fascinating and interesting” work

Griggs said, on his part: “It has been a fascinating and interesting review from many standpoints and I would like to thank the organisations and individuals who took part in this process for their frank and open contributions.

“It is clear that while there is a broad range of views on aquaculture there is also a lot of commonality in certain aspects so it is an industry which faces significant opportunities as well as challenges.

“I firmly believe that this process I am recommending will deliver a regulatory landscape that promotes a thriving environmentally and economically sustainable sector based on the best knowledge we have on all issues at that time,” ended.

Griggs is an independent Professor review of the current regulatory framework for Scottish aquaculture can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.

Salmon exports rebounded to near the 2019 record highs

According to the latest information provided by the UK Government, Scottish salmon exports achieved strong records in 2021, with an increase in value over 2020 of 36% (to £614 million), just shy of the 2019 (pre-pandemic) record of £618 million.

Exports in 2021 were directed to 52 markets, with growth recorded in 10 of the top 20. France led the recovery (up from £119 million to £304 million) followed by the US as the second market (up from £47 million to £152 million) and China (up from £31 million to £45 million).

These figures from HM Revenue and Customs show the strong global demand for Scottish farmed salmon, and also confirm the sector as the UK’s largest food exporter, Salmon Scotland said.  According to the UK Government, the industry directly employs 2,500 people and supports more than 3,600 suppliers, with 10,000 jobs dependent on the sector.

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