Adistinguished group of figures in the industry has set out its vision to double aquaculture production by 2030. Led by Gael Force’s Stewart Graham and Aquascot’s Dennis Overton, they will produce a report later this year which, they say, will ‘inspire ambition and follow-up from multiple stakeholders’.
We applaud them for undertaking this task on the industry’s behalf and will watch and support their efforts. However, the consensus among Scottish salmon farmers, by far the biggest producers in the sector, seems to be that further expansion is dependent on a reform of the regulatory process, which is currently holding them back.
Two months ago, an independent consenting review landed on the then minister’s desk. As we went to press, the day after the Scottish election, we were still waiting to hear of new ministerial appointments. It may be a different face in the Rural Affairs department, but whoever it is we wish them well in the job. We also ask that they attend to that consenting review as a matter of urgency and not kick it into the long grass, as has been the habit of politicians in Scotland when confronted with the challenges of this industry.
May is going to be a busy month, with Aquaculture UK in Aviemore, and the Shellfish Association of Great Britain conference at Fishmongers’ Hall in London. Janet Brown will cover the latter for Fish Farmer, and the rest of us will be out in force in Aviemore. We will have our own stand at the exhibition and hope to welcome many of you there.