The reform of Scotland’s aquaculture regulatory processes will be boosted with the first meeting of new strategic advisory group, the Scottish Aquaculture Council.
The council brings together senior representatives from key organizations with interests in the industry and its environmental and community impacts, with the mission of providing advice to help the Scottish government realize its aspirations for the sector. Members will provide views to help inform the development of the government’s new vision for sustainable aquaculture, to be published by the end of 2023.
Chaired by Scotland Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon, the first meeting will include discussions with Russel Griggs, the author of an independent review of the aquaculture regulatory process published in February 2022.
Gougeon said aquaculture is a significant employer in Scotland’s rural and coastal communities and in the wider U.K. and global supply chain, and said the sector can only truly be a sustainable success story if it works together to address and mitigate any impacts on natural environments.
“The Scottish Aquaculture Council will help ensure that Scotland’s aquaculture industry is diverse, competitive, and economically viable – achieving its full potential and protecting a thriving marine ecosystem for future generations,” she said.
Representing Scottish Environment LINK, Clare Cavers said the charity is looking forward to engaging with the group and wants the process to support and deliver “meaningful, transformative change” in the industry.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the industry to achieve that goal within the constraints of the interlinked climate emergency and nature crisis,” she said.
The council’s initial meeting will be followed by a second meeting in the fall.
According to Salmon Scotland Chief Executive Tavish Scott, Griggs’s review sets out a detailed route map to better regulation that works for salmon farmers, local communities, government, and society, and recommends that this new framework is delivered within the next 12 months.
“The council will play a crucial role in shaping that long-term vision for the next 50 years and develop a sustainable aquaculture sector that continues to grow responsibly and support coastal jobs and livelihoods in some of our most fragile, rural communities,” Scott said.
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