INDIVIDUALS and organisations are being asked to share their views on the salmon farming industry as part of a parliamentary inquiry.
The Scottish Parliament’s rural economy and connectivity committee is exploring the future of the industry and how challenges in areas such as environment and fish health can be addressed.
The closing date for representations from interested parties is 27 April.
The call comes in the same week the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation pledged to reveal farm-by-farm sea lice numbers to help create an “open, honest dialogue” over the current state of the industry.
Shetland is a hotspot for farmed salmon, with hundreds of people employed in the industry locally by the likes of Scottish Sea Farms and Cooke Aquaculture.
In 2016, £176 million worth of farmed salmon was produced in the isles, with Shetland accounting for 23 per cent of Scotland’s total weight.
But concerns remain over the environmental impact of the industry in areas like pollution and sea lice.
Farmed Atlantic salmon is Scotland’s largest food export, with fish worth £519 million exported last year between January and October.
Convener of the rural economy and connectivity committee Edward Mountain MSP said the industry is of “great significance” economically to Scotland.
“In the coming months we will gather evidence from producers, processors and others directly involved in the salmon industry; environmental organisations and Scotland’s food and drink sector,” he said.
“It’s crucial that we access the valuable knowledge, experience and expertise of everyone in Scotland with an interest in the future of the salmon industry to help shape our work in this area.”
The committee is looking for answers to these six questions:
- Do you have any general views on the current state of the farmed salmon industry in Scotland?
- There have been several recent reports which suggest how the farmed salmon industry might be developed. Do you have any views on action that might be taken to help the sector grow in the future?
- The farmed salmon industry is currently managing a range of fish health and environmental challenges. Do you have any views on how these might be addressed?
- Do you feel that the current national collection of data on salmon operations and fish health and related matters is adequate?
- Do you have any views on whether the regulatory regime which applies to the farmed salmon industry is sufficiently robust?
- Do you have any comments on how the UK’s departure from the European Union might impact on the farmed salmon sector?
Alternatively, hard copies can be sent to: Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, T3.60, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP.
The committee is expected to produce a report with its findings after it has concluded its anticipated evidence taking over March-May.