SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has warned the islands could lose their powers to control fish farming in local waters this week.
Mr Scott warned that a Labour amendment to the Marine Bill could pass regulation of aquaculture from Shetland Islands Council into the hands of the Scottish government.
Mr Scott has been working with Shetland Islands Council to lobby Parliament, which debates the final stages of the bill on Thursday. Labour’s proposals have the backing of the Conservatives, but not the SNP administration.
“Shetland has managed the enormous growth of salmon farming, mussel farming and other sea farms over the past 25 years,” Mr Scott said.
“The islands’ ability to take responsibility for these developments, while recognising the environmental impact, has been shown over many years.
“There are already plenty of Scottish-wide bodies such as SEPA and SNH which have a legitimate and central role in considering new and existing fish farm developments. So I cannot see why centralising more powers in Edinburgh with a central government department makes any sense. I am pleased the Scottish government does not want this change.”
Mr Scott has urged council convener Sandy Cluness and other councillors to make representations to all the Highlands and Islands list MSPs, saying the industry was keen to keep control in local hands.