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Marine / New strategy to support Scotland’s fish farming sector

ACTIONS to increase the productivity of Scotland’s aquaculture sector while at the same time reduce the impact on the environment have been set out in a new Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture today (Friday).

Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon: ‘Scotland’s aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to our economy.’

These seemingly contradictorily targets will be achieved by better spatial planning and consenting, reducing seafood farming’s environmental impact, improving health and welfare as well as a renewed focus on innovation and increased productivity, according to the Scottish Government.

The aquaculture sector has also pledged to become net-zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

The 26-page document was welcomed by both the government and industry body Salmon Scotland.

Rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Scotland’s aquaculture sector is a significant contributor to our economy.

“Farmed salmon continues to be hugely popular in both domestic and foreign markets whilst Scottish businesses are at the very forefront of global innovation within the industry.

“We want the industry to continue to flourish whilst placing a renewed emphasis on environmental protection and community benefits. This is the defining principle of the Vision for Aquaculture and the measures that it contains are designed to achieve this.

Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott added: “We welcome this vision which puts salmon farming at the heart of the country’s economic growth plans, helping Scotland’s journey to net zero and supporting healthy diets.

“The blue economy has the potential to both increase food security at home and feed the growing global population.

“Scotland is uniquely placed to lead the way in the drive for the sustainable use of the oceans and seas, while conserving our shared environment for future generations.”

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As well as being the UK’s largest food export, Scottish salmon generates £760 million for the local economy every year.

According to the trades body, Scottish salmon farms directly employ 2,500 people and support more than 3,600 suppliers, with a further 10,000 jobs dependent on farm-raised salmon.

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