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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 27 November 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Poverty (United Kingdom), Violence against Women, Committee Announcement, Decision Time, NHS Highland (Bullying)


Committee Announcement

The next item of business is an announcement from Edward Mountain, the convener of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, on the committee’s inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland.


I refer members to my entry in the register of members’ interests.

As convener of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, I announce that our report into salmon farming in Scotland was published today. Our in-depth inquiry was launched earlier this year. We took evidence from a wide range of stakeholders, research bodies, environmental organisations, regulatory bodies and the industry.

The salmon farming industry offers significant economic and social value to Scotland, providing jobs and investment in rural areas. There is a desire in the industry to grow. However, if that is to happen, it is essential that the serious challenges that it faces, such as the control of sea lice, lowering fish mortality rates and reducing the sector’s impact on the environment, are addressed as a priority.

Our report contains 65 recommendations on how that should be achieved. The committee’s strong view is that maintaining the status quo in terms of regulation and enforcement is not acceptable. We need to raise the bar. All compliance policy must be robust and enforceable, with appropriate penalties for those operators who do not meet the standards.

The committee is clear that no expansion should be permitted at sites where high mortality or significant levels of sea lice are not addressed to the satisfaction of regulators.

In terms of the environmental impact, the committee noted the recent Scottish Environment Protection Agency research, which concluded that medicine from Scottish salmon farms

“is significantly impacting local marine environments”.

The committee is therefore in no doubt that effective regulation of medicine used by the farmed salmon industry is a key requirement.

The committee makes several recommendations on the siting of salmon farms, which need to be read and considered with all the other recommendations in our holistic report.

We hope that the industry will welcome the report, and the initial indications are that it is being welcomed—as it is by other stakeholders—as a helpful and constructive document.

We look forward to receiving the Scottish Government’s response to our recommendations and to a full debate on the report in the chamber in the new year.