SSPO welcomes latest SEPA environmental licence application process

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) has welcomed the publication of Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) new environmental licence application process for marine fish farming published on the 31st of May. The organisation described it as a positive move forward in the regulation of salmon farming which “supports the delivery of sustainable farming practice.”

The application process enables the use of improved predictive modelling tools and introduces an evidence-led environmental monitoring approach to regulating the impacts which arise from farming in the marine environment.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, SSPO chief executive, said: “For years, the SSPO has been calling for a better, more responsive and more flexible approach to the siting of salmon farms and we hope this move by SEPA will now deliver that.

“Almost everyone with interestsin this sector – from the Scottish government, through the Scottish parliament to many salmon anglers – wants to see a shift from the traditional emphasis on small, restricted, inshore sites to bigger, more robust farms anchored in deeper, offshore waters. We hope this will help us take a sizeable step in that direction.

“However, the SSPO is also adamant that no farm that is performing well in an inshore location should be forced to move to a deeper, offshore site. The new regime should be flexible enough to accommodate best practice everywhere.”

The Scottish salmon farming sector attended a multi-stakeholder presentation of the proposals on the 2 May. Representatives from the sector have since met with SEPA officials on 15th May, 23rd May and 29th May largely in respect to fish health and welfare.