The next steps in reforming Scotland’s aquaculture regulatory system have been outlined by the Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon.
Speaking at an industry sector conference in Aviemore, Ms Gougeon announced the formation of a consenting task group to make rapid progress on streamlining the aquaculture consenting system.
This includes making a change to the marine licence validity period for finfish and shellfish farms from six to 25 years.
Ms Gougeon said: “Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will play a major role in our green recovery and transition to net zero.
“It makes a significant contribution to our national economy and provides a source of tasty, nutritious food that is enjoyed at home and abroad.
“Developing world-leading legislation for aquaculture is key to developing a sector that is both environmentally and economically sustainable, operating within environmental limits and with social licence, ensuring there is a thriving marine ecosystem for future generations.
“Delivered in a way that reflects the co-operation agreement with the Scottish Green Party and our own manifesto commitments.”
A Ministerial Aquaculture Strategy Forum will deliver the recommendations made by Professor Griggs in the first stage of the aquaculture regulatory review.
The forum will advise on the development of the Scottish Government’s Vision for sustainable aquaculture.
The Vision, set to be published by the end of the year, will have enhanced emphasis on environmental protection and community benefit at its core.
The Scottish Science Advisory Council have been asked to consider the scientific recommendations of the review to ensure changes to the sector support its sustainable development and tackle environmental challenges.
Celebrating Scotland’s aquaculture sector and supporting long term sustainability: speech by Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon at Aquaculture UK conference in Aviemore.
The aquaculture sector in Scotland supports over 11,700 jobs and generated £885 million Gross Value Added in 2018.
Professor Griggs was appointed to lead the first phase of the independent review of how fish farms are regulated in August last year.
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.