Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill Consultation Document Environmental Report February 2012

This Environmental Report sets out the results of the assessment of the possible environmental effects of provisions in the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill.


Current Situation

13.1 Atlantic salmon return to the river of their birth to spawn after lengthy periods at sea, a behaviour that has resulted in genetically distinct stocks in Scotland's rivers and underpins the biodiversity of the species.

13.2 The stocking of fish, including Atlantic salmon and sea trout, in lochs and rivers as a means of supplementing existing wild stocks or via the establishment of new stocks has been a common practice in the past in Scotland [62] . In the past, salmon and trout stocks were often moved among rivers in Scotland, although little information has been identified regarding the impacts on local populations due to these movements.

13.3 Since August 2008, the intentional introduction of live fish or spawn of any fish into Scotland's inland freshwaters without the previous written agreement of Marine Scotland (or the local DSFB in respect of licensing of proposed introductions of salmon to fresh water) is prohibited under the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 [63] . In cases where Atlantic salmon and sea trout are to be introduced, it is often the DSFB that wishes to do so. This should be undertaken in accordance with best practice policy guidelines, developed by the DSFB, the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards ( ASFB) and the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland ( RAFTS). The guidelines promote a risk-based approach to the artificial stocking of wild salmon fisheries [64] .


13.4 The proposed provision includes powers for Scottish Ministers to recall, restrict or exclude the jurisdiction of DSFBs to license the introduction of salmon in their District.

Potential Effects

13.5 The prohibition of introductions by Section 35 of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 2007 (as described in Paragraph 13.3) is intended to protect native biodiversity from the consequences of introductions of non-native fish into Scottish fresh waters. Consequences can include adverse effects such as "deleterious genetic alteration of native populations; increased predation ( e.g. predator attraction); competition with wild fish for food and space; antagonistic behaviors that are disruptive for native fish; and disease and parasite transmission". [65]

13.6 The licensing regime came into operation on 1 August 2008. While it is still early days for a full assessment of the operation of the regime, there seems to be a case for reserve powers for Scottish Ministers. This could be in circumstances where, for example, the DSFB is authorising its own actions or where the proposed introduction to inland waters is in, or may affect, a designated site for salmon or species protected by the Habitats Directive.

13.7 The proposed provision would have the benefit of enhancing the existing powers under the Act. Given the genetic value of Scotland's wild salmon populations, and the potential detrimental impacts of introductions, this reserve power offers an opportunity for an enhanced approach to the management of wild salmon, with potential benefits for biodiversity through limiting the risks of competition, displacement and inter-breeding associated with stocking practices.


13.8 As no significant negative effects from this provision have been identified, no mitigation measures are required. Given the high-level nature of the provision, enhancement measures have not been proposed at this stage of the Bill's development.

Effects of Continuing the Status Quo

13.9 The potential disbenefits of DSFBs being able to authorise their own stocking would remain if this provision was not made, with potential broader-scale risks to biodiversity such as those set out in Paragraph 13.7.


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