The Scottish Government said on Friday that an independent review of how fish farms are regulated in Scotland is underway in a move “to make Scottish aquaculture legislation one of the most effective and transparent in the world.”
Professor Russel Griggs has been appointed to lead the first phase of the review.
“The appointment is the latest of the Scottish Government’s 100 Days Commitments to be met, on day 81 since the First Minister was voted in, and will highlight what improvements can be made to the environmental, economic and community aspects of aquaculture legislation,” said the Scottish Government.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will be an essential part of our green recovery and transition to net zero.
“The industry also provides a source of home grown, nutritious low carbon protein that is enjoyed at home and abroad.
“However reports and parliamentary activity over the last few years have made clear that the regulatory landscape is contentious and there is a need for improved efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.
“I am pleased to appoint Professor Griggs to this role as he brings extensive experience in better regulation from his role as chair of the independent Regulatory Review Group.”
Scotland’s salmon farming industry exported a record amount of fresh fish to the European Union in the first quarter of 2021 despite post-Brexit disruptions, according to the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO).
Figures compiled by the SSPO from information supplied by all of Scotland’s salmon producers revealed that 19,410 tonnes of Scottish salmon, worth more than £100 million, were exported to the EU in Q1 of this year.
The aquaculture sector — dominated by salmon farming — contributed £885 million to the Scottish economy and supported 11,700 jobs in 2018.
Griggs said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to lead this important review.
“Aquaculture plays a major role in maintaining sustainable rural communities and the economy as a whole and this review is both timely and necessary.
“The industry faces significant challenges and also has its critics, but I will approach this review with an open mind and engage with stakeholders from across the aquaculture spectrum.
“Only by doing this will we be able to deliver improvements in the regulatory landscape in the short-term and identify options for further reform in the longer term.”