Scottish aquaculture development plan announced

The Scottish Executive has announced its strategic framework for aquaculture
March 26, 2003

The Scottish Executive's strategic framework for aquaculture was launched at the Sea Change conference in Dunblane, 3/24/03. Deputy Environment and Rural Development Minister Allan Wilson told his audience that Ministers would bring forward legislation governing the aquaculture industry during the next Parliamentary session. He also announced annual investment from the Executive of up to £100,000 to support the establishment of a Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum, which would also receive funding from other sources.

Other action points contained in the Framework include:

Steps being taken promote aquaculture’s economic development – Federation of Scottish Aquaculture Producers to prepare plan to encourage investment in industry; independent study of regulatory costs on aquaculture businesses undertaken; development of Exports Action Plan

Actions to reduce the environmental impact of aquaculture – review quality of fish farm environmental impact assessments and develop guidance for developers and regulators on minimum standards; collect environmental data to inform carrying capacity guidelines at local level; encourage companies to commit to environmental management systems; review effectiveness of voluntary sea lice management initiatives

Effects of fish farming on the marine environment – develop policy on the location/re-location of fish farms; local authorities to develop local guidance zoning the development of aquaculture in coastal areas;

Changes to fish farm planning policy – extend planning authority responsibility to marine fish farming; produce Scottish Planning Policy for fish farming.

Mr Wilson said:"The launch of this Strategic Framework for Aquaculture highlights our commitment to the development of a sustainable and competitive industry.

"This Framework has been produced by various stakeholders, from industry, environmental groups, regulators, finance and retail representatives, and academics. The breadth of interests represented should ensure that this policy is successful and helps aquaculture in Scotland.

"The Framework signals the Scottish Executive’s commitment to an aquaculture industry which develops sustainably, and our recognition of the important contribution the industry makes to Scotland’s economy, particularly in rural areas.

"The Executive aims to bring forward new, tailor-made legislation for aquaculture, to ensure that regulations governing the industry are fit for their purpose, taking account of economic and environmental concerns."