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A Fresh Start: The renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture

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THE BIGGER PICTURE

The Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture is aligned to other policies and legislation.

Scottish Government's Economic Strategy

On 13 November 2007 the Scottish Government published The Government Economic Strategy. The Strategy's single Purpose is to focus the Scottish Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing economic growth on a socially and environmentally-sustainable basis. This growth, will be achieved through five Strategic Objectives which aim to make Scotland:

  • Wealthier and fairer - enable businesses and people to increase their wealth and more people to share fairly in that wealth. In the context of aquaculture, this means a growing competitive and profitable aquaculture industry which is seen as a good neighbour;
  • Smarter - expand opportunities for Scots to succeed from nurture through to life-long learning, ensuring higher and more widely shared achievements. This means maximising the best use of technology and training for aquaculture;
  • Healthier - help people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care. This means the production and promotion of high-quality farmed fish and shellfish as part of a healthy nutritious diet;
  • Safer and stronger - help local communities to flourish, becoming stronger, safer places to live, offering improved opportunities and a better quality of life. This means a sustainable and growing aquaculture industry, building and supporting communities; and
  • Greener - improve Scotland's natural and built environment and the sustainable use and enjoyment of it. This means minimising the impact of aquaculture, ensuring it operates within the carrying capacity of the environment.

The Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture will be guided by these overarching strategic objectives.

Scottish Government Economic Recovery Programme

In response to the economic downturn the Scottish Government is taking forward an extensive package of measures through our economic recovery programme. The Scottish Government is committed to doing everything within its power to protect short-term demand in the Scottish economy and to help those businesses and individuals worst affected by the downturn. Supporting profitable fishing, aquaculture and fish-processing businesses and the jobs and rural economies they underpin is a central part of the economic recovery programme.

The economic recovery programme is fully in line with the Government's Economic Strategy and its continuing commitment to achieving its Purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth for Scotland.

Marine Bill for Scotland and Marine Scotland

The Scottish Government is bringing forward dedicated legislation for Scotland's marine environment. The Scottish Marine Bill, introduced to the Scottish Parliament in Spring 2009, promotes a sustainable approach to marine management and will balance marine conservation with the growth of marine industries. Legislation will make provisions for marine planning, marine nature conservation and streamlined marine licensing.

A new delivery arm of the Scottish Government, Marine Scotland, came into effect on 1 April 2009 and is the lead marine management authority in Scotland. This development will, over time, clarify and simplify licensing of marine and freshwater aquaculture facilities.

Climate Change

The Scottish Government will play its part in rising to the global challenge of climate change and has introduced a Scottish Climate Change Bill. Scottish aquaculture must ensure that the potential impacts of a changing climate are incorporated into planning and development of the industry to reduce its vulnerability and to capitalise on potential opportunities offered by renewable energy.

European Fisheries Fund ( EFF)

The EFF is a European programme of funding to support the sustainable development of fisheries, of which aquaculture is a significant sector. The EFF programme can support eligible projects from individual producers or industry/trade initiatives, in line with Marine Scotland priorities. The Scottish Government opened the EFF Programme to new applications on 15 September 2008, with the first round of awards announced in February 2009. It will run until 2013 with three to four rounds of awards expected each year.

Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007

This Act makes provision in relation to fish farms for sea lice control and containment of fish. It gives Marine Scotland inspectors powers to inspect fish farms to ensure that satisfactory measures are in place to control sea lice, to contain farmed fish, prevent escapes and recover escaped fish. There is provision for issuing of enforcement notices and failure to comply with the conditions of such a notice is an offence. Inspections and audits for compliance with the Act commenced in November 2008.

Industry Code of Good Practice

The Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture has been operational since 2006. It will be reviewed and updated in 2009, taking account of the best available evidence and of changes in legislation and policy. While the code is voluntary, companies which are signed up are audited for compliance by Food Certification Scotland Ltd.

Aquatic Animal Health Directive

Application of this Directive will ensure that farms, transporters and processors operate to a high standard of bio-security in order to minimise the risk of outbreak and spread of disease.

Sea lice data

The Ministerial Group on Aquaculture will comment on proposals for a strengthened process for the collection of sea lice data to ensure the development of a national understanding of the nature and extent of this problem.

Tripartite Working Group

This group was set up to promote dialogue between the wild fish sector and finfish farmers for mutual benefit. It has been successful in brokering 18 Area Management Agreements on the west coast, within which the participants seek to protect and enhance the health of both wild and farmed salmonids.

The National Food and Drink Policy

At its core, aquaculture is about the production of high quality, healthy food.

Market demand for fish and shellfish is increasing, globally, within the UK and the EU. However, there is limited room for expansion in wild capture fisheries. Meeting this added demand can only realistically come from sustainable aquaculture. An increasing proportion of fish feed now originates from vegetable sources, helping to reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks. The health benefits of eating fish and shellfish are well documented and aquaculture can make a significant contribution by providing a sustainable source of fish protein. Scotland is well placed to deliver high quality, safe, nutritious and healthy farmed fish and shellfish.

Aquaculture has an important contribution to make in delivering a National Food and Drink Policy. This will promote Scotland's sustainable economic growth by ensuring the focus of all food and drink-related activity by Government offers quality, health, wellbeing and sustainability, whilst recognising the need for access to affordable food for all. Scotland Food and Drink, an industry-led body, has been established to bring everyone involved in the food and drink industry together working to a common agenda. The body aims to deliver greater success in global markets and to capitalise on Scotland's remarkable brand as the land of quality food and drink.

The Strategic Framework will provide a route for the aquaculture industry to contribute to the wider food agenda.