Powers to prevent the potential spread of a lethal salmon parasite and to control the introduction of live fish into inland waters are included in new legislation published today.
The Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill includes proposals on both aquaculture and freshwater fisheries. It outlines measures to deal with the salmon parasite, Gyrodactylus salaris, if it is ever accidentally introduced to Scotland.
Legislation will build on a voluntary Code of Good Practice for the aquaculture industry. Environment and Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie said:
"The views of fisheries and aquaculture interests across Scotland are strongly reflected in the Bill. "The freshwater proposals provide a range of measures to improve access for anglers to lochs and rivers; prohibit the use equipment that compromises the welfare of freshwater fish, and prevent damage to the environment through the introduction of conservation measures.
"This legislation will make real the vision of the Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture by underpinning the voluntary approach set out in the industry's Code of Good Practice. "A successful industry depends on public confidence in the quality of its produce and its environmental credentials.
"The Bill will help to tackle the long running and difficult issues of sea lice control and fish farm escapes which can have a negative impact on the aquatic environment." Notes to Editors
Aquaculture - the Bill:
- Introduces a duty on fish farmers to collect, retain and make available for inspection information relating to fish parasites and containment of fish
- Give powers to allow inspectors authorised by Ministers to take samples of stock and measure levels of parasites
- Introduces powers to allow inspectors access to ascertain whether fish have escaped from a farm and to investigate the risk of potential escapes
- Allows enforcement action to be taken where farms do not have satisfactory measures in place to control parasites or contain fish
- Gives Ministers the power to approve a Code of Practice to improve parasite control and containment and take action if the approved Code is contravened
- Regulates live fish movements into specified areas in marine waters
- Allows Ministers to establish a scheme to pay some compensation for any fish destroyed for the purposes of disease controls
- Increases powers to allow Ministers to fund initiatives relating to sea fisheries, freshwater fisheries, aquaculture and inshore fisheries
Freshwater fisheries - the Bill:
- Gives powers to introduce a temporary order restricting the movement of live fish, fish eggs and foodstuff for fish in the event of an outbreak of Gyrodactylus salaris anywhere in the UK and to make disinfection arrangements.
- Gives powers to take measures for the containment and eradication of Gyrodactylus salaris including:
- powers to construct, maintain and dismantle barriers across rivers
- for this purpose a power of compulsory purchase of land
- a power to enter onto land for the purposes of surveying the river
- the closure of existing fish passes to prevent upstream migration of fish
- treat rivers with chemicals or other agents to kill the Gyrodactylus salaris parasite
- permit the removal and disposal of dead and moribund fish
- Introduces powers to allow Scottish Ministers to order the compulsory slaughter of fish to eradicate Gyrodactylus salaris
- Amends existing provisions in the Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003 relating to protection orders, close times, use of rod rests, use of live vertebrates as bait, use of gaffs, tailers, pike gags, landing nets and keep nets.
- Prohibits the intentional introduction of live fish into inland waters without prior written approval.
On sea fisheries the Bill:
- makes technical amendments to the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 and the Fisheries Act 1981