Recommendations on measures to address the interactions between the farmed and wild salmon sectors have been presented to the Scottish Government.
The Salmon Interactions Working Group has published its report which sets out more than 40 recommendations under 5 key themes including the regulation and licensing of fish farms, the collection of data and the commission of further research.
The Scottish Government will consider the report’s findings and set out next steps in due course, including whether some of the recommendations can be taken into account as part of the development of the Wild Salmon Strategy, a Programme for Government commitment.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:
“We value the contribution the farmed and wild salmon sectors make to the Scottish economy and I congratulate John Goodlad and the wider membership of the Salmon Interactions Working Group on the publication of this report which is a pivotal step in moving forward the dialogue on the often contentious issues involved.”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of safeguarding our iconic wild salmon while supporting the sustainable growth of the Scottish aquaculture and recreational fisheries sectors. We welcome this report which has brought both sectors together to discuss the challenges of managing farmed fish while reducing the potential impact on our wild salmon stocks and we look forward to considering these recommendations”
Julie Hesketh-Laird, CEO of Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said:
“The Scottish farmed salmon sector remains a devoted steward of the marine environment. This report shows our commitment to continue in that role and be good neighbours to Scotland’s rural communities and others who use and enjoy our coastlines and rivers.
The discussions over the past 18 months or so have been tough and complex but through our deliberations we have jointly developed a framework that demonstrates our determination to work with all those who genuinely have an interest in protecting, preserving and reviving wild Atlantic salmon stocks around Scotland’s coasts.
It is in our interests as salmon farmers to find out what is really happening to Scotland’s wild salmon stocks so we welcome the extra effort which will now be directed towards strengthening research into the decline in wild salmon numbers and improving habitats. We are also pleased that the report has acknowledged and embedded many of the existing principles and procedures which our salmon farmers already practise. We look forward to a stronger, more collaborative working relationship with the wild salmon sector as a result.”
Dr Alan Wells, Chief Executive of Fisheries Management Scotland, said:
“We welcome the publication of the report of the Salmon Interactions Working Group. This report sets out a comprehensive suite of recommendations that will put the protection of wild salmon and sea trout at the centre of a reformed regulatory system.
Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations in Scotland are approaching crisis point and it is vital that Scotland’s Government and regulatory authorities do everything in their power to safeguard these species in those areas where they can make a difference. The SIWG report was agreed unanimously and both Fisheries Management Scotland and the fish farming industry have jointly committed to ensure that the recommendations are implemented in full. We therefore urge the Scottish Government to support the delivery of the recommendations as soon as practicably possible.”
Source: Marine Scotland