22 February, 2008
THE CROWN Estate Commission has come under fire once again from northern isles
MP Alistair Carmichael, who accuses them of “colossal greed” for more than
tripling seabed rents for shellfish farmers in Shetland.
Mr Carmichael found out that Orkney shellfish farmers have seen their rents
double in the last five years.
The figures emerged after the MP questioned the Chancellor of the Exchequer how
much rent the Crown estate was charging the fastest growing sector of the
His queries revealed that the income the Crown Estate has received from
shellfish farmers UK wide has increased by 50 per cent since 2003.
Rents from Shetland shellfish farmers has increased from £15,000 in 2002/3 to
£50,000 in 2006/7, a rise of 233 per cent. The figure in Orkney has grown from
£1,100 to £2,500 during the same period.
Income from Scottish shellfish farmers as a whole has risen from £86,000 to
£131,000, while in the UK it has gone up from £100,000 to £156,000.
Mr Carmichael said: “Another week and yet another example of the Crown Estate’s
inappropriate and wholly unfair taxing of the seabed, yet they have given the
bare minimum in return.
“Shellfish farming has assumed an increased importance in recent years as other
aquaculture contracts have come under pressure. The Crown Estate, however, have
seen this as an opportunity to rake in more money. An increase of 233 per cent
in five years is steep by anyone’s estimates.”