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14 August, 2008

SCOTTISH aquaculture is looking to the future with a new strategy to ensure renewed investment in all aspects of the industry.

A consultation on the Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture was launched yesterday (Wednesday) at a fish farm on the Isle of Skye by environment minister Michael Russell.

The government has highlighted the economic importance of the sector, saying it is now worth more than fish catching to the country.

Shetland-based secretary of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation David Sandison said the old strategy from 2003 needed to be revitalised, with issues it had not resolved now being examined.

He said: “It is about trying to make the case for investment in the industry stronger through external bodies and to make sure the regulatory environment is good for encouraging people to come and do business in Scotland.”

Mr Sandison said the economic and environmental sustainability of the industry “go hand in hand” and is a key consideration of the strategy.

“Improving competitiveness and good governance in the £400 million per annum aquaculture industry will encourage further investment. This is key to enhancing environmental sustainability and delivering greater social and economic rewards.”

The full public consultation is open until 5 November and a new direction for the ministerial working group on aquaculture has also been proposed.

Mr Sandison said that one of the suggested directions for the group is to give each individual member one main aspect of the new strategy to “champion”.

Investment by aquaculture farmers in equipment such as nets is also being highlighted to cut down on the number of fish that escape or anything else that costs the industry money.

“You have to invest in equipment to keep on top of these things if you want to make sure these are not issues, and obviously they are if they are not handled properly.

“You have got to have well trained staff who care about what they are doing, good equipment and good nets. Then really everything else should fall into place.”

Most recent update - Thursday, 25 September 2008 22:30
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