Holyrood launches follow-up inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland

Holyrood’s Rural Affairs & Islands (RAI) Committee has launched a follow-up inquiry to ask if recommendations made to the Scottish Government in 2018, to address economic, social and environmental issues related to the salmon farming industry in Scotland, have been implemented.

In November 2018, the then Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee (RECC) said that urgent action needed to be taken to improve the regulation of the Scottish salmon farming industry and to address fish health and environmental challenges.

At the time, the Committee set out 65 recommendations about how challenges, such as the control of sea lice, rising fish mortalities and the need to reduce the sector’s impact on the environment, should be addressed. The Committee also said that the current standards of regulation of the sector were ‘not acceptable’.

In 2023, Scottish farmed salmon was the UK’s top food export by value, with export sales totalling £581m.

Commenting, Rural Affairs & Islands Committee Convener, Finlay Carson MSP, said, “The RECC recommendations of 2018 aimed to put in place measures that would maintain the reputation of Scottish salmon as an internationally recognised premium product, and so preserving the significant economic and social value this industry brings to Scotland.

“Picking up the baton from our predecessors, we will find out what progress has been made in developing the industry since 2018 and how the various fish health, environmental and climate change challenges it faces are being addressed.”

Over the course of nine evidence sessions, the RAI Committee will revisit the recommendations hearing from aquaculture stakeholders, salmon farming representatives, NGOs and regulators.

In September, the Committee will meet with local community groups to learn more about the impact salmon farming is having on local communities. Members will also visit the Scottish Association for Marine Science and salmon farms to increase their understanding of how the sector is developing.


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