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Marine / Salmon industry publishes long-term vision

THE SCOTTISH salmon farming industry has vowed to apply the highest standards of animal welfare, to minimise its impact and ensure a healthy environment and be a good neighbour looking to make a positive difference.

Former MSP for Shetland Tavish Scott is now leading trade body Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation. Photos: SSPO

Launching the industry’s long-term vision A Better Future For Us All has been one of the first jobs Tavish Scott, the new chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), had to undertake.

Following a spell at Scottish Rugby, the former Shetland MSP was appointed in September to lead the trade body that represents the UK’s largest food export.

Scott described the 18-page document as “momentous” and “ground-breaking”.

“We already have an incredibly good environmental story to tell with a low carbon footprint, low freshwater use and great feed conversion rates,” he said.

“But, by publishing this document today, we declare our commitment to go further and meet even more exacting standards in the years to come.”

Pledges in the document include:

  • The sector will be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions before 2045.
  • Scottish salmon farming will work towards being 100 per cent renewable energy users.
  • The sector will source 100 per cent of its fish feed ingredients from sustainable sources and there will be full traceability of all ingredients.
  • It will work towards having 100 per cent recyclable packaging.

Salmon farming employs 410 people directly in Shetland and many more in the supply chain.

Other commitments in the document include:

  • Scotland’s fish farmers will improve pen structures to make sure all fish are prevented from escaping.
  • The sector will direct more money and resource into farming communities.
  • Scotland’s salmon farmers will install electric vehicle charging points.
  • The sector will establish a salmon experience visitor centre.
  • Salmon farm companies will provide sustainable homes in our communities.
  • The sector will work with government, regulators and other bodies to establish innovation sites to trial new technology.
  • The sector will create clear career-development paths and focus on long-term skills and recruitment to provide more high-quality jobs in rural areas.

Chair of the SSPO Atholl Duncan added: “Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first commercially harvested farmed salmon in Scotland. This vision will take us forward into the next 50 years.”