A Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture
I am very pleased to publish our Strategic Framework for the aquaculture industry in Scotland.
For too long the industry has been bedevilled by often ill-informed criticism of its operation which has not served in any way to advance debate. The present document emerges from a rather different process in which industry and its critics sat down together, jointly to agree the way forward.
It was important that this long overdue dialogue took place. The significance of the aquaculture industry to our rural economy in particular cannot be overstated. In many remote areas of Scotland its presence supports the necessary infrastructure of community life. It has made and will continue to make an important contribution to promoting rural diversity. And of course it is vital not only for the jobs it provides, but in its role as our largest food-exporting sector, producing 50% (by value) of Scotland's total food exports.
That modern Scotland needs a thriving aquaculture industry is clear and irrefutable.
Looking ahead, aquaculture must grow sustainably if it is to continue to build on its success. That means it must develop in ways which can be accommodated within the overall capacity of the environment to sustain it. The industry itself is in no doubt about this. It is significant in that context that most of the commitments to action contained in this document were proposed by the industry representatives on my Working Group themselves.
In other words, the Strategic Framework which is described in the following pages is characterised by the industry's willingness to work collaboratively with its stakeholders in the interest of what is best for Scotland. Commentators often refer to the relative youth of the industry _ it has existed here for some thirty years only. I believe, however, that its contribution and commitment to the Strategic Framework are a mark of its maturity. This is a very clear statement of intent, which I am happy to endorse.
Allan Wilson, MSP
Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development