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
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
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
“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