Speaking today at the meeting of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group - which was established
to look at how the sector can potentially double in
value by 2030 - Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing confirmed a framework will
be developed to underpin legislation and guide best practice to improve the
health of farmed fish. Key areas of work will include knowledge exchange,
cooperation and openness, sea lice and innovation.
Professor Colin Moffat, Head of Science, Marine Scotland and Ben Hadfield, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Scotland, will co-chair the Strategic Framework for Fish Health Working Group which will meet later this month, with a final draft framework expected next spring.
Ben Hadfield said: “Under this vital initiative, on which the industry are committed to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government, we will increase our transparency as a sector, increase the deployment of practical and environmentally friendly fish health strategies, and evidence our current and long term commitment to fish health.
“I expect this initiative will strengthen Scotland’s reputation as a major producer of healthy seafood and further develop the significant contribution made to the Scottish economy by aquaculture."
Mr Ewing said: “This framework reflects the importance of fish health to our aquaculture industry, and puts the welfare of our marine environment and fish at the heart of production.
“It recognises that innovation is essential to deliver the industry’s vision for aquaculture, to maintain Scotland’s reputation for quality produce and enhance our position on the global finfish production stage. It will also focus on creating an environment in which fosters innovation and drives sustainable growth.”
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham added: “It is imperative the right balance is struck between the continued growth of Scotland’s aquaculture, whilst ensuring fish health and environmental interactions are managed."