THE recent publication of the Scottish government’s Fish Farm bag. Headcount is growing, with an additional 123 staff being employed in production, while the number of companies operating in salmon farming is also up. Meanwhile, the number of sites is holding steady at 87.
However, we have also witnessed a decline in productivity, with the 2015 down to 162,817 tonnes in 2016. This includes a reduction in the number of smolts produced and, unfortunately, a decrease in smolt survival, which is bad news.
Smolt quality is of utmost importance - a good smolt is half the battle won. Sadly, in addition to this reduction in smolt survival, the survey also showed reductions in the mean weight of salmon being produced.
industry will meet its ambitious target of producing 350,000 tonnes modest growth to 177,202 tonnes, leaving us some way short of the target.
However, what I’ve learned from my years in aquaculture is never to underestimate the ingenuity and skill of those working in the sector. Salmon aquaculture has risen to a number of challenges – most notably sea lice – and emerged stronger.
barriers to growth and has actioned initiatives towards strengthening industry leadership and ambition, acceleration of innovation, development of skills and proportionate regulation.
Three of these areas are, in my view, particularly vital to the fortunes of the sector.
much to reduce the recent impact of sea lice issues, which led to high mortality rates and controversy over farming practices.
Indeed, we’ve seen an increase in produc which is welcome and forms part of the sea lice eradication effort alongside the solutions of mechanical removal.
supported by the prudent use of the pharmaceutical portfolio as and when required.
Several new preventive strategies based on vaccination have recently been introduced to confront bacterial and viral challenges, yet the health. And the problem goes beyond the relatively well-known issues, including amoebic gill disease (AGD), that the industry has gradually learned to deal with.
research to fully identify impacting factors, both of biotic and abiotic nature.
vation towards gill health challenge - and the implementation of successful strategies to mitigate sea lice – Europharma’s UK team is participating in collaborative research aimed at improving rapid diagnostic methods, and also investigating environmental factors that impact on these gill syndromes.
Scotland Food and Drink’s strategy for aquaculture aspires to see the industry’s contribution to the Scottish economy escalating from £1.8 billion in 2016, to £3.6 billion by 2030, with the generation of more than of 9,000
markets but I fear we might miss such opportunities if the growth in the Scottish industry is restricted by disproportionate regulation.
as Craig Anderson at the Scottish Salmon
Company call for radical change in the way the industry is regulated. One pertinent example cited is the length of time taken to get planning permission and the appropriate licences for new farms. Such delays cost companies valuable time and money, while directly holding back production.
The need for proportionate regulation and a more enabling approach from regulators was also visited in detail in Scotland’s new Industry Leadership Group (ILG) for aquaculture in its inaugural meeting earlier this year.
The attendance of Rural Economy Secretary potential for industry and different parts of the public sector to collaborate effectively to support sustainable growth in a key industry for Scotland.
Indisputably, the Scottish government has been very supportive of the salmon farming industry.Yet it’s also clear that more can be done to support a sector that is a marque
More can be done to support a sector that is one of our most important
brand for Scottish food and drink, as well as being one of our most important employers in rural and island communities.
Finally, we need to raise our game in terms of our public relations activity and to ensure the sector speaks with one voice, challenging the poor science which is often thrown at the industry by its detractors.
That means we need to get considerably better at talking up our own
The Scottish aquaculture industry (to paraphrase Michael Josephson) should take pride in how far we have come and have faith and determination in how far we can go.
It’s my contention that with action in all these areas, there’s no reason why our industry can’t continue to grow and put more of our product on dinner tables across the globe.
Nikos Steiropoulos is CEO of Europharma Scotland.
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