‘I can’t think of an industry that had been on the receiving end of so much criticism and been given so little credit for its successes.’
The Scottish government is to work in tandem with the country’s fish farmers to address health challenges and help the industry grow sustainably, rural affairs minister Fergus Ewing announced reports Fishupdate.com
As he opened the Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore, he unveiled a ‘momentous’ ten-year Farmed Fish Health Framework, that aims to not only enable growth but also minimise impacts on the environment, the website said.
The framework has six work streams which will deal with fish health issues and review sea lice protocols. A separate work stream will be set up to cover wild and farmed fish interactions, and will include representatives from both sectors.
Ewing (pictured) repeated his support for aquaculture, saying it supported 12,000 jobs, many of them well paid, and workers in the sector were the backbone of their Highlands communities.
He said it was very important that this message is delivered ‘loud and clear’, and he couldn’t think of an industry that had been on the receiving end of so much criticism and been given so little credit for its successes.
In front of the already large crowds attending the two-day show, he held up the pocket size guide to salmon farming, ‘Reported versus Reality’, published recently by the industry, and told delegates to hand it out, ‘to counteract the unfounded smears and attacks we see repeated all too frequently in our mainly metropolitan press’.
The nation’s salmon farmers have come under persistent attack from environmental groups, some Green politicians and the angling lobby, and the industry is currently the subject of a parliamentary inquiry.
As the introduction to the booklet states: “Much has been said about Scottish salmon farming in recent months; much of it misleading or inaccurate, particularly with regards to fish welfare and the impact of our farming activity on the environment.
“These inaccuracies, if left uncorrected, have the potential to do untold damage to the reputation of Scottish farmed salmon. They also have the potential to jeopardise much-needed jobs, reduce business for local suppliers, and diminish the sector’s significant contribution to the economy in terms of salaries, tax and export value.”