1. Executive summary
This report provides a summary of the analysis of responses submitted on the consultation on the draft Aquaculture Code of Practice: Containment of and Prevention of Escape of Fish on Fish Farms in relation to Marine Mammal Interactions (the "Code"). The consultation opened on 22 June 2021 and closed on 3 August 2021.
Following the collection of consultee responses, a mixed method approach was adopted for the consultation analysis. This ensured a comprehensive review of the qualitative and quantitative data.
Additionally, responses to comments raised through the consultation are given to provide clarification or further information where possible.
1.2. Responses received
In total, 39 respondents provided responses to the consultation. Respondents were identified in different categories to allow for further analysis. The respondent categories are as follows:
- Individual respondent
- Environmental organisation
- Aquaculture Production Business ("APB") / APB representative body
- Fisheries or other board / trust
- Local authority
- Research body
- Other private business
- Legal professional body
1.3. Summary of responses
The following provides a summary of the key outcomes:
- Twenty-seven respondents supported the introduction of the Code, which amounts to a majority of 69.2% of all respondents and 81.8% of those who answered the question directly.
- Only six respondents did not support introduction of the Code (15.4% of all respondents) and another six did not answer this question directly (15.4% of all respondents).
- Most individuals, environmental organisations and fisheries or other board/trust respondents supported the Code but would like fish farms to be regulated further and are concerned about enforcement of implementation of the Code.
- Most APBs supported introduction of the Code but suggested limiting it, raising issues concerning challenges in practicalities, necessary content of reporting and expectations on APBs.
Key comments raised in consultation responses included:
- Concerns that implementation of the Code amongst APBs was not enforceable.
- Concerns about challenges and issues with practicalities of implementing the Code. These comments cited timescales and content of reporting as the main barriers to implementation but also raised some gaps or contradictory guidance to be addressed.
- Suggestions that the Code required clarifications on elements of the scope, phrasing and terminology included.
As a result of responses to this consultation, the text of the Code and associated reporting forms has been revised.