Farmed and wild salmon sec­tors seek con­sen­sus

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THE first meet­ing of the farmed and wild salmon in­terac­tions group, held on Oc­to­ber 31, got off to a good start, ac­cord­ing to its chair­man, John Good­lad.

The group, es­tab­lished by Scot­land’s Ru­ral Econ­omy Sec­re­tary Fer­gus Ewing in May as part of the Strate­gic Frame­work for Farmed Fish Health, in­cludes rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the farm­ing and wild salmon sec­tors, as well as from gov­ern­ment and reg­u­la­tory bod­ies.

Its aim is to find a com­mon ap­proach be­tween aqua­cul­ture and wild salmon lead­ers, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to sea lice man­age­ment.

The group was a good cross sec­tion, said Good­lad, and it was ‘an ex­cel­lent meet­ing’.

‘There was a real feel­ing from ev­ery­body there that we wanted to make progress and wanted to make progress quickly.

‘Our task is to pro­duce a series of rec­om­men­da­tions which will be passed to the two cab­i­net sec­re­taries, Fer­gus Ewing and Roseanna Cun­ning­ham [en­vi­ron­ment], and then they will act on those rec­om­men­da­tions.’

The group in­cludes Ben Had­field, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Marine Har­vest Scot­land, Julie Hes­keth-Laird, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Alan Wells of Fish­eries Man­age­ment Scot­land, Roger Brook of Ar­gyll Dis­trict Salmon Fish­ery Board, and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Sepa, SNH Marine Scot­land and Scot­tish En­vi­ron­ment Link. A sched­ule of meet­ings has been set up, with the next one planned for Novem­ber – ‘ev­ery­body is agreed we should try and do this job, ob­vi­ously as ef­fi­ciently and as well as we can, but also as quickly as we can’, said Good­lad. While the rec­om­men­da­tions must be ‘ev­i­dence based’, there is not time to un­der­take new sci­en­tific re­search. ‘If there is some­thing that can be done quickly that can en­hance ex­ist­ing knowl­edge, then we’ll do it, but we’re not in the game of com­mis­sion­ing re­search, which would take far too long. We’re go­ing to have to work with what’s al­ready there.’ He said his as­pi­ra­tion was to reach a con­sen­sus and rec­om­men­da­tions that im­prove wild salmon and also im­prove the salmon farm­ing in­dus­try. ‘It’s a high bar, it’s not go­ing to be easy, but I think we got off to a good start. There is a real feel­ing that we’ve got to make this work, this time.’ This is the third in­terac­tions group, and there is pres­sure for it to pro­duce more con­crete re­sults than pre­vi­ous groups.

Above: John Good­lad

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