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A Fresh Start: The renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture

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THE KEY THEMES

What follows is a more detailed outline of each of the five key themes of the Strategic Framework. The issues, as identified by stakeholders, are highlighted within each theme as well as how they relate to other themes and the strategic objectives of the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy

HEALTHIER FISH AND SHELLFISH (H)

Desired outcome: A secure long-term future for the industry by protecting the asset through adoption of disease and parasite-control strategies which also contribute to minimising impacts on the environment.

The consultation exercise indicated an urgent need for effective sea lice control measures to protect the health and welfare of both farmed and wild salmonids. This is viewed as crucial for the long-term future of both sectors.

The occurrence of Infectious Salmon Anaemia ( ISA) in Shetland at the start of 2009 has highlighted the need to avoid complacency in regard to prevention and control of all diseases and the importance of operating to, as a minimum, the husbandry recommendations set out in the Code of Good Practice for Finfish Aquaculture, such as the establishment of management areas. It is important that such management areas are of appropriate scale for disease control.

Disease contingency planning involving industry and government is also important to ensure high health status of the Scottish industry and should be reviewed regularly. There is continued support for the Tripartite Working Group to deliver local solutions, supported by effective implementation of the Aquatic Animal Health Directive.

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY STAKEHOLDERS

LINK TO OTHER KEY THEMES

SG STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

DESIRED OUTCOME

WF

S

H

SS

G

Integrated sea lice control strategies

L, M, F, C

v

v

v

v

v

Strategy developed for effective control of sea lice supported by a transparent, robust and fair inspection regime to ensure satisfactory measures are in place and impact on the wider environment is minimised

Disease management areas

L, M, F, C

v

v

v

v

v

Single year class stocking, synchronous treatment and fallowing of appropriate scale management areas

Tripartite Working Group ( TWG)

M, L, C

v

v

v

TWG refocused on local delivery of agreements between farmed and wild fisheries interests

Hatcheries/production of disease-free smolts, eggs and spat

F, M

v

v

v

v

Secure the retention of viable finfish and shellfish hatcheries in Scotland

Shellfish quality and public health

M, F

v

v

v

v

v

Establishment of improved controls and testing mechanisms

Waste management

F, M

v

v

v

v

Robust and biosecure arrangements for the satisfactory disposal of waste and mortalities - both routine and for mass mortality events or emergency culling

Aquatic Animal Health Directive

F, C

v

v

v

Directive transposed and fully implemented

Animal welfare

M

v

v

Best practice standards in place to ensure accepted welfare of farmed fish and appropriate control of predators through compliance with an industry code which is evolving to reflect current best practice

Fish and shellfish disease control including emerging diseases

L, M, F, C

v

v

v

Effective control strategies for fish and shellfish diseases including efficient identification of emerging diseases and compliance with an industry code which is evolving to reflect current best practice

H = Healthier fish and shellfish L = Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments C = Improved containment M = Better marketing and improved image F = Improved access to Finance

IMPROVED SYSTEMS FOR LICENSING AQUACULTURE DEVELOPMENTS (L)

Desired outcome: Development of the right sites in the right places through transparent, streamlined and proportionate regulation and processes to minimise adverse impacts on other users of the marine and freshwater environment.

There is a perceived lack of available sites for expansion of aquaculture in Scotland. A strategic approach to the siting of farms to facilitate sustainable expansion of the aquaculture industry is required. Any new approach will have to sit within the marine planning framework.

Stakeholders have indicated a desire for the relocation of sites away from important salmon rivers and migratory routes, particularly freshwater sites. The potential for possible impacts of aquaculture on wild fisheries, the wider environment and other marine and freshwater users must be considered appropriately through robust and transparent planning and licensing processes.

The draft River Basin Management Plan for Scotland identifies positive measures to address the challenge of how to support the continued expansion of the aquaculture industry while minimising impacts on the environment. Future arrangements for aquaculture planning and developments, and the issues set out under this theme, will be taken forward in light of progress on the Marine Bill and the establishment and development of Marine Scotland and improved marine management arrangements in Scotland.

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY STAKEHOLDERS

LINK TO OTHER KEY THEMES

SG STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

DESIRED OUTCOME

WF

S

H

SS

G

Improved availability of sites for expansion and rationalisation

M, F,

v

v

v

v

v

Aquaculture plans, in the context of marine plans and river basin management plans, which provide a clear indication of where aquaculture development may take place for production of shellfish, finfish and other species

Large numbers of undeveloped leases

M, F

v

v

v

Maximise use of available sites where appropriate, informed by an improved database and other information sources and develop an alternative to the current system of ad hoc "firebreaks" created by unused consents

Fitness for purpose of locational guidelines

C, H

v

v

v

Clear guidance for environmental quality, disease control and landscape, taking into account the assimilative capacity of water bodies and resolving the issue of unused consents

Simplification of procedures and links with Marine Bill and Marine Scotland

C, M, F

v

v

v

Clear indication of how freshwater and marine aquaculture will be dealt with including maximising opportunities for linkage to other marine industries

Impact of aquaculture on other users

C, M, F

v

v

v

v

v

Impact of aquaculture on wild fisheries, biodiversity and wider environment minimised through robust and appropriate planning and licensing systems

H = Healthier fish and shellfish L = Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments C = Improved containment M = Better marketing and improved image F = Improved access to Finance

IMPROVED CONTAINMENT

Desired outcome: Containment improved by adopting best-practice to reduce stock loss, improve profitability and secure the future and credibility of the industry whilst minimising adverse environmental impacts and preventing conflict with other interests.

Fish farm escapes are clearly an important issue for the industry and its stakeholders and must continue to be reduced through best practice underpinned by the Marine Scotland inspection regime under the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 and revision of the industry Code of Good Practice.

Best practice should also consider welfare issues relating to the control of seals by fish farmers and the use of improved containment systems or facilities. By continuing to improve containment, the finfish industry will reduce potential impacts on the environment, be seen as a good neighbour and, by limiting stock loss, increase profitability.

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY STAKEHOLDERS

LINK TO OTHER KEY THEMES

SG STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

DESIRED OUTCOME

WF

S

H

SS

G

Escapes of fish from farms

F, M, H, L,

v

v

v

v

v

Minimise escapes caused by poor operational procedures, storm damage and predators

Full implementation of Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007

M, H

v

v

v

v

Transparent and fair inspection and audit regime in place ensuring correct operational procedures are in place

Utilisation of best practice and technology

F, M

v

v

v

v

Industry using the best practices and equipment available for containment reflected in an adhered to and evolving industry Code of Good Practice

Freshwater production

L, M, F

v

v

v

v

Industry using the most appropriate equipment or facilities for containment at fresh water sites to ensure adverse impacts on biodiversity and wider freshwater environment are minimised

Contingency planning for escapes

L

v

v

v

v

Robust plans are in place and adverse impacts are minimised

Source of escaped fish

M

v

v

v

v

Methods put in place to aid traceability of escaped fish

H = Healthier fish and shellfish L = Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments C = Improved containment M = Better marketing and improved image F = Improved access to Finance

BETTER MARKETING AND IMPROVED IMAGE (M)

Desired outcome: Maximised profitability for commodity and niche market producers by promotion of a positive image of the industry and making best use of the Scottish quality brand to secure markets at home and abroad and provide sustainable employment opportunities.

The Scottish aquaculture industry faces stiff competition from other countries. It must rise to this challenge and capitalise on its strengths by promoting the positive aspects of the Scottish quality brand to secure markets at home and abroad. The positive image of the aquaculture industry should be promoted by highlighting best practice, the robust regulatory regime in place, sustainability and the clear health benefits of eating fish and shellfish.

There is also a desire to develop the shellfish sector in particular and for diversification into new species and markets. Greater focus should be made on education and training including the promotion of aquaculture as a viable career in order to retain and attract talented and innovative people. This framework must also make best use of research and development, innovation and new technologies as well as an improved awareness of market trends.

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY STAKEHOLDERS

LINK TO OTHER KEY THEMES

SG STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

DESIRED OUTCOME

WF

S

H

SS

G

Image of the aquaculture industry

C, F, H

v

v

v

Better public awareness, acceptance and understanding of aquaculture industry

Aquaculture as a viable career

F

v

v

Aquaculture recognised as a rewarding career which attracts, retains, educates and trains talented and innovative people

Structure of the industry and link to supply chains

F

v

v

v

v

v

Planned access to processing and markets in UK and overseas

Securing the Scottish premium and developing niche markets

F

v

v

v

Scottish aquaculture products recognised as top quality particularly those from specialist producers

Diversification in aquaculture, new species and new markets

L, F

v

v

v

v

Strategy in place to support diversification and innovation through development of new species production with good market prospects, informed by developments in technology

Feed sustainability

F

v

v

Feed derived from sustainable sources and understood as such

Health benefits of eating fish and shellfish

H

v

v

v

Promotion of health benefits of fish and shellfish by clear linkage of aquaculture to Scottish Food and Drink Policy

Engagement with Europe and wider international stage

F

v

v

Scotland proactive and effectively engaged with other countries on aquaculture issues including implementation of the EU aquaculture strategy, sharing best practice and as a major contributor to international cooperation on research

Reduced waste and appropriate utilisation of by-products

H, F

v

v

v

v

Use of EFF grants to develop measures to minimise waste products and utilise by-products

H = Healthier fish and shellfish L = Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments C = Improved containment M = Better marketing and improved image F = Improved access to Finance

IMPROVED ACCESS TO FINANCE (F)

Desired outcome: An investment climate which supports and underpins the long-term future and competitiveness of the sector with investment in best practice and new technologies.

Aquaculture has faced difficulties in securing finance. This has been exacerbated by the global economic downturn. It is crucial that mechanisms are in place to facilitate access to financial support and potential investors must be encouraged to view the industry as a long-term viable business.

Securing access to finance is crucial particularly to small business and SMEs, as is effective roll-out of European Fisheries Fund ( EFF) monies. Criteria for assessing EFF awards for aquaculture should be clearly linked to issues laid out in this Strategic Framework.

ISSUES IDENTIFIED BY STAKEHOLDERS

LINK TO OTHER KEY THEMES

SG STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

DESIRED OUTCOME

WF

S

H

SS

G

Competitiveness of Scottish aquaculture with aquaculture in other countries

M

v

v

Scottish aquaculture shown to be competitive within each market area

Long-term investor confidence

M

v

v

An industry that is recognised as a good investment opportunity

Development of robust data and information sources to highlight the value, importance and prospects of the industry in Scotland

M

v

v

v

v

Clear, robust and up-to-date information available to ensure industry is recognised as a good investment opportunity

Lack of private sector funding

M

v

v

More private sector funding available, encouraged by government and investor confidence

Lack of public sector funding

M

v

v

Best use of available public funding for the benefit of the whole industry including EFF and in compliance with state aids rules

Support for innovation and new technologies

M, C

v

v

v

Partnerships between Government, academia and industry

More efficient use of facilities

H, M

v

v

v

v

v

Support opportunities for shared facilities (depuration, processing, marketing, deliveries)

H = Healthier fish and shellfish L = Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments C = Improved containment M = Better marketing and improved image F = Improved access to Finance