The chairs of each sub-group responsible for driving forward the Scottish Government's aquaculture framework were named by Roseanna Cunningham, Minister for Environment, while visiting a Lighthouse Caledonia salmon farm in Argyll, today.
The framework was launched in May and provides a blueprint for the industry to grow sustainably and fulfil its potential.
The sub-groups chairs are:
- Healthier Fish and Shellfish
Prof Randolph Richards, former director of the Institute of Aquaculture, Stirling University
- Improved Systems for Licensing Aquaculture Developments
Prof Phil Thomas, Chairman of Scottish Salmon Producer's Organisation
- Improved Containment
Steve Bracken, farmed salmon industry (Marine Harvest Ltd)
- Better Marketing and Improved Image
Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producer's Organisation
- Improved Access to Finance
David Bassett, Chief Executive of British Trout Association
Also, in recognition of some of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by the shellfish sector, a regular Shellfish Forum will be established - chaired by Walter Speirs, Chairman of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers.
Speaking at Lighthouse Caledonia, Scotland's biggest independent salmon producer, Ms Cunningham said:
"The aquaculture industry is vitally important to Scotland both economically and socially - in particular to the many rural communities within which much of the industry's farming and processing activity takes place.
"I am delighted to be here at Lighthouse Caledonia, winners of the stewardship award at the Aquaculture Awards last month.
"Aquaculture is a major success story for Scotland. The value of Scottish aquaculture around, 350 million per annum, is broadly in line with the value of catches from Scottish fishing vessels.
"The Chairs will develop immediate priorities for their group's work plan. The strategic framework also sets out plans for a refocused Ministerial Group on Aquaculture, which I will chair and which will meet later this year.
"I am conscious that there is more we can do to promote the health and environmental benefits of the aquaculture sector to the public and I look forward to working with the sub-groups and industry to make this happen".
Rob Wilson, CFO Lighthouse Caledonia said:
"We greatly appreciated the opportunity to show Roseanna Cunningham some of our salmon farming facilities in Loch Fyne and to have the time to explain in greater detail our operations. This area represents a significant part of our business and is an important contributor to the local economy."