‘Cut red tape or miss growth tar­get’

Fish Farmer - - News -

THE Scot­tish aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try’s tar­get to dou­ble pro­duc­tion by 2030 can­not be met be­cause of gov­ern­ment red tape, said Craig An­der­son, boss of the Scot­tish Sal­mon Com­pany.

Scot­land pro­duced 162,817 tonnes of sal­mon in 2016 and set out plans last year to more than dou­ble this to­tal to 350,000 tonnes.

But An­der­son, whose com­pany is Scot­land’s third big­gest pro­ducer, told the Her­ald that the sys­tem for ap­ply­ing for Con­trolled Ac­tiv­i­ties Reg­u­la­tions (CAR) li­cences to farm fish had to ‘rad­i­cally’ change, along with the bod­ies gov­ern­ing the in­dus­try.

‘Un­der the cur­rent regime of li­cence ap­pli­ca­tions that [tar­get] is not go­ing to be hit,’ said An­der­son. ‘We as a sal­mon pro­duc­ing na­tion will miss that tar­get by far, that’s just a fact. Cur­rently it takes three years from Sepa (Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Pro­tec­tion Agency) and once you get your CAR li­cence you then have to go to the lo­cal author­ity to get plan­ning [per­mis­sion] to an­chor your pre­vi­ously ap­proved farm site to the seabed and if they refuse, that’s three years wasted.’

He ac­knowl­edged that the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment had been ‘very sup­port­ive’ of the sal­mon farm­ing in­dus­try, but he called on the four bod­ies who reg­u­late the in­dus­try to look at how they could work to­gether to make the in­dus­try ‘fun­da­men­tally bet­ter’.

Scott Lands­burgh, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scot­tish Sal­mon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion, said he fully un­der­stood An­der­son’s frus­tra­tions, but added that ‘a lot of work had been go­ing on over the years to de-clut­ter the red tape’. ‘The Vi­sion 2030 group put for­ward an am­bi­tious tar­get but nev­er­the­less it was based on sound rea­son­ing, and par­tic­u­larly on the fact that our com­peti­tor coun­tries had grown ex­po­nen­tially while Scot­land had flat-lined for 10 to 15 years.’

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