Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), commented on the report published by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.
“We welcome today’s report and note the Committee’s recognition of the opportunities for well-regulated, sustainable growth in order that the industry can continue to offer economic and social value to Scotland.
“The Scottish salmon farming sector is at a critical phase of its development and the Committee’s recommendation that regulation should be improved to keep pace with potential growth is encouraging.
“We produce the world’s most sought-after farmed salmon and are fully aware that, with that, comes the responsibility to ensure world-class fish welfare and environmental standards. To that end, the sector is already voluntarily reporting lice levels and is world-leading in publishing survival data on a farm-by-farm basis and we are leading participants in the Scottish Government’s 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework which will promote collaboration between industry, regulators and scientists to underpin long-term improvements in fish health and welfare.
“We intend to continue that work and investment and we welcome involvement in regulatory discussions to help us do that to help ensure future regulation inspires confidence in all those with an interest in salmon farming.
“On the siting of farms, we welcome the Committee’s recommendation and the recent move by SEPA to support the development of larger farms. The sector has long called for the flexibility to allow farming in more appropriate locations, while existing farms performing well should be supported to continue to do so.
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