Process aims to deliver world-leading legislation
The first stage of an ambitious review of how fish farms are regulated is complete and the Scottish Government has accepted all its recommendations in principle.
The independent review is part of a programme to make the Scottish aquaculture regulatory system one of the most effective and transparent in the world and benefit rural communities.
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, who led the first stage, has submitted his recommendations to Ministers after comprehensive engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.
Proposals include the introduction of a new single licencing payment based on the level of production at a site, which covers the cost of all organisations involved in the process and adds value to local communities.
The development of frameworks tailored to different aquaculture sectors including shellfish and seaweed are also recommended. Another suggestion is for the establishment of a new scientific advisory body to advise Government and commission new work.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “This is a comprehensive piece of work by Professor Griggs and I am very grateful to him for the significant amount of time and effort that has gone into delivering it.
“I welcome the ambitious range of recommendations he has made and we accept them all in principle.
“Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will be an essential part of our green recovery and transition to net zero.
“It is important that change to the sector is delivered in a practical way that reflects the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party and our own manifesto commitments.
“Developing world-leading legislation for aquaculture is key to developing a sector that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.
“We will take a short amount of time to consider the proposals, and maintain the momentum of this important work.”
Professor Griggs said: “It has been a fascinating and interesting review from many standpoints and I would like to thank the organisations and individuals who took part in this process for their frank and open contributions.
“It is clear that while there is a broad range of views on aquaculture there is also a lot of commonality in certain aspects so it is an industry which faces significant opportunities as well as challenges.
“I firmly believe that this process I am recommending will deliver a regulatory landscape that promotes a thriving environmentally and economically sustainable sector based on the best knowledge we have on all issues at that time.”
Professor Griggs's independent review of the current regulatory framework for Scottish aquaculture can be viewed on the Scottish Government website.
The Regional Inshore Fisheries Groups (RIFGs) aim to improve the management of inshore fisheries in the 0-6 nautical mile zone of Scottish waters, and to give commercial inshore fishermen a strong voice in wider marine management developments.