A Containment Working Group was established under the auspices of the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA) in 2013 – building on the work of the Improved Containment Working Group. Its remit is to prevent fish farm escapes.
The group is Chaired by Steve Bracken, Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd, with membership drawn from: Farmed Atlantic salmon companies, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Equipment suppliers and manufacturers (pens, nets, moorings), Telford Institute, marine Insurance sector, Training providers, Regulators, Marine Scotland, Non-Government Organisations & wildfish environment interests as appropriate.
The Group’s agreed deliverables are:
- Deliver a Scottish Technical Standard (STS) for fish farm equipment and associated guidance by 2015.
- Inform draft regulations in relation to Scottish technical requirements enabling provision in the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) 2013 Act by 2015.
- Make recommendations of industry training requirements to ensure a skilled workforce to MGSA by May 2014.
- Review escapes reporting processes including guidance, cause categorisation, and facilitate regular dissemination of recommendations to industry.
Update on progress/ Development of Scottish Technical Standard (STS) and Technical requirements.
- SARF report 073: Proposals for a STS published including recommendations for further research/Knowledge Gaps published 2012.
- Aquaculture & Fisheries (Scotland) Act commenced September 2013, including Powers to prescribe technical requirements for equipment and training to: (1) ensure installation and deployment of equipment that is well maintained and appropriate for the site conditions; (2) Impose a duty for adequate training to use prescribed equipment, and requirements on operators to keep records in relation to training and equipment.
- Publication of A Technical Standard for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture (STS) for fish farm equipment and staff training recommendations
- STS covers nets, pens, mooring systems and screens; applies to open pen, land-based facilities, ponds, raceways and hatcheries; and sets standards for design, construction, materials, manufacture, installation, maintenance and size of equipment. It will be flexible to take account of site specific environmental conditions e.g. wave height, wind and current speeds; and flood risk assessments for land-based, pond and raceway sites; and future-proofed for technological developments, novel farming approaches and moves further offshore or climatic changes. STS should be used alongside operational procedures, operators’ manuals and training of operatives to ensure equipment is used appropriately and procedures followed correctly.
- Drafting of Scottish technical requirements regulations is underway.
- There will be lead in time to ensure new equipment meets the standard and old equipment is upgraded/replaced 2016-2020. Everything must comply by 2020 at the latest.
- Work on developing SQA qualifications for both fresh water and seawater is currently underway through Pisces Learning Innovations Ltd. It is anticipated this will reinforce existing National Occupational Standards on containment; and allow farm and hatchery technicians to undergo formal assessment in containment training.
Reported escapes are published on Scotland’s Aquaculture website.