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21 November, 2008

SCOTLAND’S fish and shellfish farmers have been urged to take advantage of a pot of £3 million aimed at the sustainable development of the Scottish fisheries industry by taking advantage of any unused sites around the country.

Environment minister Michael Russell has said fish farmers should take advantage of Scotland's allocation from the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) for 2008 to move into any unused sites around the coast.

The government has published its first online a map of marine fish farms around Scotland at www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Fisheries/Fish-Shellfish , to help show where new sites could be established.

The EFF is to be fast-tracked, which means it can be accessed up to the end of March, but bids must be received by the end of the year.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, environment minister Michael Russell said: "In the current economic climate it is absolutely vital that our fish producers take advantage of every resource available to them and that includes the European Fisheries Fund.

"There is up to £3 million available for suitable projects that can start quickly and deliver immediate benefits, and I would urge the industry to think about how they could reap its benefits.”

He added: " I would challenge the farmers to use the money available to tap unused sites and support efforts to achieve farm sites in the best places for business and the environment.

"The need for fish farms to be a good neighbour is paramount as we work to ensure a bright and prosperous future for aquaculture in Scotland."

Mr Russell said that good progress was being made on fish escapes, with a 20 per cent reduction between 2006 and 2007, with 2008 looking to be better again.
 


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