Analysis of the consultation on proposals for the introduction of an Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, has been published. The Scottish Government consulted on how to achieve a sustainable future for aquaculture and freshwater fisheries and ensure the effective management of interactions between the two sectors. The consultation will inform the development of a new Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, which is planned for introduction in autumn 2012.
Fish and shellfish farming is a growing industry that directly employs more than 1,500 people, with salmon being Scotland’s largest food export. In 2010 150,000 tonnes of farmed salmon was produced, worth around £540 million. Scotland's freshwater fisheries are world famous and their management supports one of the largest wild salmon populations in Europe, while Scottish brown trout fisheries are also an important tourism draw.
"Both aquaculture and freshwater fisheries play an important economic and social role in communities throughout Scotland, particularly in remote and rural locations", Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson said". "That’s why the Scottish Government has consulted on new legislation that will aim to ensure both sectors have a viable, long term future".
The consultation concluded on April 13 and generated 1,342 responses, representing a wide cross-section of interested parties – including aquaculture, freshwater fisheries, environmental bodies, voluntary and public sectors, and members of the public.
The analysis shows that overall, opinions on most of the issues in the Consultation Document were strongly divided between the aquaculture industry, which was largely critical of many of the proposed Bill provisions, and the freshwater fisheries and other environmental stakeholders, who were in favor of much of it..
Fish farming concerns centered on excessive regulation of the industry, and adding unnecessary red tape.