Phil Thomas

Fish Farmer - - Contents -

BAC in the days when I was a re­searcher, in­ter­na­tional meet­ings in Europe would o en wit­ness dif­fer­ent re­search groups in­tel­lec­tu­ally knock­ing six bells out o each other, with no quar­ter asked or or given. Ev­ery acet o the re­search re­ports would be ero­ciously chal­lenged, rom the ex­per­i­men­tal de­signs, to the qual­ity o the data, to the sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis, to the fi­nal in­ter­pre­ta­tion o the find­ings.

That was the Bri­tish way o do­ing science, to the be­muse­ment o our con­ti­nen­tal col­leagues, who would al­ways es­tab­lish their agreed na­tional sci­en­tific po­si­tion well be ore com­ing to the meet­ing.

The Bri­tish ding-dongs be­came al­most leg­endary. But there were times when they were quickly cur­tailed. All it needed was or one o our con­ti­nen­tal coun­ter­parts to eel they could en­gage in the process. The Brits would then be­come tribal, close ranks and dis­play a re­mark­able mu­tual sol­i­dar­ity.

I have re ected on this o en over the past month, as Brexit dis­cus­sions and dis­agree­ments have dom­i­nated the news day a er day. I voted re­main be­cause I thought it would be eas­ier to achieve ma­jor E re orms rom within rather than rom out­side.

How­ever, when the Brexit vote was leave and more so as Brus­sels ne­go­ti­a­tions have pro­gressed - I have come to the view that the will have to be out­side the E to find its own sal­va­tion.

Cen­tral in this is a des­per­ate need to re-es­tab­lish some grown up pol­i­tics in West­min­ster and in the re­gional seats o gov­ern­ment in Scot­land, Wales and or­th­ern Ire­land, and to re­store pub­lic con­fi­dence in our po­lit­i­cal par­ties and po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions.

This is not a time or party or re­gional pol­i­tick­ing. The uture pros­per­ity o com­mu­ni­ties through­out the de­mands politi­cians align or­ces, close ranks and get be­hind the po­si­tion that democ­racy has de­ter­mined.

There are cur­rently many ex­am­ples where that is not hap­pen­ing, rom the wholly ir­re­spon­si­ble de­mands that the gov­ern­ment pub­lishes its im­pact anal­y­sis pa­pers prior to the Brus­sels ne­go­ti­a­tions, to the at­tempts o re­main sup­port­ers, rom all par­ties and gov­ern­ments, to un­der­mine the s po­si­tion by un­der­tak­ing their own lob­by­ing in Brus­sels.

This may ap­pear like busi­ness as usual to the politi­cians, but it eeds into the vo­latile and rac­tious pol­i­tics o the , and erodes any sense o na­tional pur­pose.

Politi­cians should have no doubt that the vot­ing pub­lic will have long mem­o­ries and will not or­give those who they be­lieve are cur­rently le ng them down.

Mean­while, in the day to day world, where work­ing peo­ple are ge ng on with their lives, sal­mon arm­ing in Scot­land is go­ing through a year when sea wa­ter tem­per­a­tures have been ex­cep­tion­ally high.

There has been a very un­usual, lo­cal in­ci­dence o Pas­teurella skyen­sis in Loch Erisort, and gill and par­a­site chal­lenges have been en­coun­tered in sev­eral other arm­ing lo­ca­tions.

How­ever, along­side this, cto­ber has also pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant new de­vel­op­ments and quite a lot o good news.

At the start o the month, Ma­rine Har­vest be­gan re­cruit­ing or the ormer sea bass and sea bream hatch­ery at Pen­mon in An­gle­sey that it has ac­quired or wrasse pro­duc­tion. This will sub­stan­tially in­crease the in­dus­try s cleaner fish ca­pa­bil­i­ties- and that is a very pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ment.

Ad­di­tion­ally, in­dus­try wide in­no­va­tion and on- arm test­ing o new en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tions in sea lice man­age­ment are now mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress, and knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence is be­ing shared be­tween com­pa­nies to help deal with the prob­lems aris­ing rom cli­mate change.

Linked with this, on cto­ber 30, at the Con­ven­tion o the High­lands and Is­lands, Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing gave the green light to the de­vel­op­ment o Scot­land s first aqua­cul­ture in­no­va­tion sites, which will be a very wel­come and sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tion to the in­dus­try s R D ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

And, in mid- cto­ber, ofima an­nounced a break­through in the breed­ing o ster­ile sal­mon. This will re­move the pos­si­bil­ity o es­caped fish breed­ing with the wild pop­u­la­tion and make ASC s (the orth At­lantic Sal­mon Con­ser­va­tion rgan­i­sa­tion) pre­oc­cu­pa­tions with ge­netic in­tro­gres­sion a thing o the past.

Fi­nally, this month I am mak­ing an in­au­gu­ral Fake ews o the Month award. This goes to Ju­lia Ho­ran o the Sun­day Times ( cto­ber 22) or her story, head­lined Fish arms un­der fire or seal death toll , say­ing that seal shoot­ings by Sco sh fish­eries and fish arms in the first hal o 2017 were al­most 50 per cent higher than in 2016, and that most seals were shot by fish arms .

How­ever, what Ju­lia ailed to point out was that fish arm shoot­ings had in­creased by less than nine per cent, while fish­eries shoot­ings had in­creased by 200 per cent, re­veal­ing a rather dif­fer­ent story. Con­grat­u­la­tions to Ju­lia and well done to the Sun­day Times

I am mak­ing an in­au­gu­ral Fake ews o the Month award and this goes to the Sun­day Times”

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