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Fish Farmer - - Contents -

THE Holy­rood in­quiry into the fu­ture of salmon farm­ing in Scot­land will de­mand ex­ten­sive changes to how the in­dus­try is reg­u­lated, ac­cord­ing to a re­port in the Sun­day Post on Septem­ber 30.

Quot­ing a source close to the Ru­ral Econ­omy and Con­nec­tiv­ity (REC) com­mit­tee, which con­ducted the probe, the Post re­ported that MSPs are con­cerned about the in­dus­try’s com­plex reg­u­la­tory regime.

The source said:‘The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion cre­ates con­fu­sion, with lots of dif­fer­ent reg­u­la­tions and var­i­ous en­force­ment agen­cies strug­gling to cope with the in­dus­try’s ex­pan­sion.’

The com­mit­tee is ex­pected to call for tougher reg­u­la­tions

to cut down on waste pol­lu­tion from farms, the num­ber of sea lice cases and harm to wild salmon.

But MSPs will leave it up to the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment, work­ing in con­junc­tion with the in­dus­try, to achieve such out­comes.

The REC com­mit­tee,

which fin­ished tak­ing ev­i­dence from in­ter­ested par­ties, in­clud­ing salmon farm­ers and anti-farm­ing cam­paign­ers, in May, has now met four times in pri­vate to dis­cuss its find­ings.

There has been no word, of­fi­cially, of how the de­lib­er­a­tions are go­ing, but they were de­scribed as ‘pas­sion­ate’ by a par­lia­men­tary spokesman.

How­ever, at least one MSP on the REC com­mit­tee ap­pears to have been leak­ing in­for­ma­tion from the pri­vate ses­sions to anti-salmon farm­ing cam­paign­ers.

Asked by Fish Farmer to con­firm whether the lat­est leak was ac­cu­rate or not, a Scot­tish par­lia­men­tary spokesper­son said:‘Com­mit­tees do not com­ment on leaks of draft re­ports or other is­sues dis­cussed in pri­vate meet­ings.The leak­ing of such ma­te­rial is a breach of the Code of Con­duct for MSPs.’

Mean­while, a mo­tion lodged by Green MSP Mark Ruskell calls on the Scot­tish gov­ern­ment to sup­port a mora­to­rium on the ex­pan­sion of salmon farm­ing ‘un­til the in­dus­try can guar­an­tee that farmed salmon have a good life that is worth liv­ing’.

The gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to grow­ing the salmon farm­ing in­dus­try, which is worth £1.8 bil­lion and sup- ports thou­sands of jobs.

The ru­ral econ­omy min­is­ter, Fer­gus Ewing, has again pledged his sup­port for the sec­tor, as­sur­ing farm­ers in Orkney last month that he would con­tinue fight­ing for them. He said he and the gov­ern­ment would of­fer ‘ev­ery sup­port we can to deal with the de­trac­tors, to get the pos­i­tives across, and to­gether see even greater suc­cess in the fu­ture’.

The Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion said: ‘We are await­ing with in­ter­est the re­port from the Ru­ral Econ­omy com­mit­tee and will study its rec­om­men­da­tions care­fully. We will re­serve com­ment un­til the re­port is pub­lished.’

Above: Farmed salmon - un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion

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