Part 2 – Programme of Measures
Legislation is not the only way in which Good Food Nation ambitions can be achieved, nor should it be. Policy actions can deliver change, as much as legislation can – and can often go further and faster.
What follows is a summary of the huge range of work that is already being done – or is planned – to develop the Good Food Nation ambition in Scotland across the five key areas identified by the Food Commission, i.e. Health, Social Justice, Knowledge, Environmental Sustainability and Prosperity. These are headline facts that provide an overview of projects and policies making a big difference to the lives of people in Scotland. But we want to do more and to continue to build on this work and so also included are examples of new or developing policies that will help us to achieve this aim.
This significant Programme of Measures demonstrates our very real commitment to grow Scotland as a Good Food Nation.
The vision is for everyone in Scotland to have ready access to the healthy, nutritious food they need, with dietary-related diseases like heart disease and diabetes in decline. This is what the population deserve in a country which produces such high quality food in abundance.
New and developing policies
Actions contributing to improvement of the healthy "food offer" in the NHS and wider food sector
Healthcare Retail Standard ( HRS) – Since May 2017, all 112 shops in the NHS must now meet criteria where 50% of food and 70% of drink is 'healthy' and only certain items can be promoted. The stores are assessed by the Scottish Grocers Federation which gives them a better understanding about what needs to be done to improve access to healthier food options. This has significantly improved the quality of food provision in the NHS and retailers have learned to develop new approaches to promoting produce, store layouts and influencing supply chains. Stores like the Royal Voluntary Service shop at Hairmyres now sell a substantially reduced range of sweet confectionery and more healthier alternatives such as dried fruit, nuts and sugar-free drinks. A full evaluation of the initial roll-out of the HRS will be available later in the year.
Healthyliving Award - The Healthyliving Award is a national award for the foodservice sector in Scotland. Eating out plays an important part in people's lives and what people are increasingly looking for is good healthier food. The award is mandatory for the NHS but voluntary elsewhere, with similar provisions to the Healthcare Retail Standard but geared toward the catering sector. The Healthyliving Award and Healthyliving Award Plus already operate in 900 sites across Scotland. Our plans for the Healthyliving Award ( HLA) are closely linked to an Out of Home consultation this autumn (on food eaten out of the home) which is to be led by Food Standards Scotland and which is going to ask some tough questions about how to apply the HLA most effectively and in what settings.
Healthy Living Programme – The Healthy Living Programme is a voluntary scheme for over 2,200 convenience stores (around half the sector) that has been run through the Scottish Grocers Federation since 2006. The scheme is not about imposing restrictions; it is all about helping to promote healthier produce and uses the Eat Better Feel Better banner to do so. It is constantly evolving, for instance it now engages in retailer-community initiatives with local schools, through Big Breakfast Days, and contributes to real improvements in health, education and community cohesion with 10,000 pupils reached in the past 18 months. This is particularly valuable because most outlets are in low income areas.
Small and Medium sized Enterprise ( SME) Reformulation – In partnership with the Food and Drink Federation Scotland, we are planning this autumn to introduce practical support to help businesses to get expert advice on reformulating food and drink to lower the calorie content. A lot of the support is already available through Make Innovation Happen and Scottish Enterprise so much of this work is about championing the case for reformulation, demonstrating commercial viability and linking up expertise. This will play a key part in shifting Scotland's reputation for food and drink towards high quality, healthier options.
More locally sourced, healthier produce served across our schools, hospitals and prisons
The Food for Life Programme is currently operating across 11 local authorities in Scotland, supporting the provision of more locally sourced, healthier food being served throughout the local schools. We are now expanding the Programme to reach more schools by investing £400,000 for the next 3 years to target all 32 local authorities
We are also taking forward a range of other work to stimulate more sourcing of local, healthier produce, such as through our 6 regional showcasing events which will connect up buyers and suppliers from across Scotland, and our Supplier Accreditation Programme which will support small businesses to achieve the necessary accreditation to enable them to bid for public sector contracts.
We are going to bring forward some additional measures later this year to build on this progress and continue the momentum.
Increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables
We know the consumption of fruit and vegetables in Scotland and across the UK is lower than it should be. We have therefore worked in partnership with the industry to develop and publish a new Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Action Plan which aims to do a number of things, including a concerted effort to increase demand across Scottish consumers.
School food and drink regulations
The Scottish Government has consulted on the recommendations of the review of school food and drink regulations which concluded in June 2018. The recommendations aim to bring the school food and drink regulations in closer alignment with the Scottish Dietary Goals, using the most up-to-date scientific evidence base and knowledge of current school food practices. This includes proposals based on the latest scientific and expert advice, to further reduce sugar and increase consumption of fruit and vegetables
The consultation closed on 29 August 2018. Responses are being used to consider what further changes need to be made to the recommendations before they are used to draft the new version of the Nutritional Requirements for Food and Drink in Schools (Scotland) Regulations 2008 and associated guidance.
New support for community Grow Your Own opportunities in disadvantaged areas
Scottish Ministers recognise the importance of encouraging Grow Your Own activities especially in disadvantaged areas, as a way to increase understanding of where our food comes from and of supporting healthy eating and exercise.
Through the Central Scotland Green Network Development Fund, Scottish Government funds a range of projects aimed at restoring and improving the rural and urban landscape including allotments, community gardens and community orchards. Since 2010, Scottish Government Food and Drink has awarded £550,000 to projects that contribute to the vision for a Good Food Nation, for example through practical promotion of the health benefits of gardening for vulnerable people and support for community-managed farms, gardens, allotments and other green spaces.
Our intention is to provide new financial support for local authorities and community groups for the establishment of community growing facilities particularly in areas of social deprivation around Scotland. We will also provide practical support for people in such areas to use green space for food production, for example through the provision of tool banks. We will set up a Community Growing Fund of £80,000 for this purpose .
Other current and planned health activity
Scottish Government will consult this autumn to restrict the promotion and marketing of targeted food and drink high in fat, sugar or salt.
Scottish Government will protect children with action to extend current restrictions for non-broadcast advertising of junk food.
Scottish Government has ground-breaking strategies on alcohol and tobacco.
Food Standards Scotland will consult this autumn on an overarching Out of Home strategy which will include measures to reduce calories and proposals for calorie labelling.
Scottish Government published A Healthier Future: Scotland's Diet & Healthy Weight Delivery Plan in July 2018.
Scottish Small and Medium sized Enterprises ( SMEs) are being helped to innovate and reformulate to produce healthier products.
The Scottish Government is committed to breastfeeding promotion throughout Scotland.
Scottish Government aims to reduce breastfeeding attrition rates and improve the quality of support for breastfeeding mothers particularly in the days immediately following birth
The Scottish Government provides funding of around £2.3m each year to NHS health boards to implement the Improving Maternal and Infant Nutrition: A Framework for Action, action plan.
Scottish Government has introduced the universal offer of Healthy Start vitamins for women throughout their pregnancy.
Powers over Welfare Foods were devolved to Scotland through the Scotland Act 2016. Changes to Welfare Foods in Scotland will include replacing Healthy Start Vouchers with a new Best Start Foods smartcard, increasing payments, expanding the range of eligible foods available and simplifying the application process. The changes will come into force in summer 2019 and will form part of the Scottish Government's drive to give children the best start in life, improve health outcomes and tackle inequality.
Scottish Prison Service is actively working to meet Good Food Nation aims, for example looking to introduce standardised menus in line with the policy and evidencing the nutritional content of the food that is provided.
The promotion of environmental practices on farms which encourage collaboration or cooperative action may help reduce isolation and build a more resilient farming community.
The Scottish "Peas Please" campaign is raising awareness and seeking support and pledges from across the food community to enhance the provision of healthy vegetable and fruit based additions into menus and highlight a better diet. Nine 'Peas Please' pledges have been made to help promote vegetables. The Scottish Government is providing £35,000 support to Nourish Scotland to support the development of this work
The Central Scotland Green Network ( CSGN) has galvanised on the ground action through working directly with community groups developing their own allotment site or community garden, for example an allotment site in Anderston and a community garden at Mauchline. Scottish Government is working with partners including the CSGN to increase allotment and community growing opportunities in Scotland.
Part 9 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 came into force on 1 April 2018. Amongst other things, this requires all local authorities to publish their food-growing strategies by 1 April 2020. The strategies will include measures the local authority is taking to increase the space available for allotments and other community growing, where there is a recognised need for this.
The vision is for everyone in Scotland to have the means to have ready access to the healthy, nutritious food they need.
New and developing policy
Fair Food Fund
Building on the dignified food principles identified in 'Dignity: Ending Hunger Together In Scotland', our Fair Food Fund is providing £1.5 million in 2018-19 to support local projects to deliver a range of activity aimed at shifting from food charity to food justice, building a community food movement where food insecurity is addressed in a more dignified way in a community setting.
We know that projects funded by the Fair Food Fund are particularly successful when they promote the social value of food and link this with broader activities that can help address isolation or provide additional support for families. We also know that there is significant public and community infrastructure in place and we are committed to better utilising this to enhance the support available and to do more during more vulnerable periods such as school holiday time.
As set out in the Programme for Government we will be increasing the Fair Food Fund budget from £1.5 million to £3.5 million in 2019-20. This will enable us to continue with our work to promote food delivery models that embrace the dignified food principles. It will also enable:
- An enhanced £2 million fund to respond to food insecurity during the school holidays. We will work with COSLA, local authorities, the third sector and other stakeholders to build momentum, trial new approaches and develop a clear plan of action for the future to eradicate holiday hunger. As part of this we will also look for opportunities to identify and share the successes that local authorities and schools are having in tackling holiday hunger through our £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund.
- Greater engagement with the foodbank sector to support transition to alternative delivery models that embrace the dignified food principles.
Other current and planned social justice activity
Scottish Government has a broader and more structured approach to boosting incomes in general, as set out in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and Every Child, Every Chance: The Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. These include, for example, the development of a new Income Supplement for low income families that will, in time, provide vital additional financial support; and support to reduce household costs, for example the new minimum school clothing grant across Scotland, set at £100. Both plans are ongoing.
Actions being taken to promote the payment of the living wage.
Promoting dignified access to food and tackling social isolation by funding community food initiatives through the Fair Food Fund.
Supporting food banks to transition away from charitable models to rights-based responses to food insecurity.
Investing £2 million in co-ordinated responses to food insecurity during the holidays with local authorities and the third sector.
A commitment to measuring food insecurity in Scotland.
We have a Programme for Government commitment to "incorporate" the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the work of the First Minister's Advisory Group on Human Rights Leadership (report due in December).
The vision is for Scots to take a keen interest in their food, knowing what constitutes good food, valuing it and seeking it out whenever they can. This starts with young children who we want to see armed with the knowledge and opportunity to understand where their food comes from and to make the right choices throughout their lives.
New and developing policies
The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 places a statutory responsibility on all local authorities to manage and maintain the school estate across Scotland.
The current SG school building programme, Scotland's Schools for the Future, has made significant progress in helping education authorities improve the quality of Scotland's school estate. The Schools for the Future programme was developed to augment, not replace, local authorities' own investment in the school estate. The programme has delivered good work but there is still more to do. In November 2017, the Deputy First Minister announced the SG's intention to build upon the success of the programme and develop Scotland's Learning Estate Investment Plan. The detailed development of the plan is underway and the Deputy First Minister will make an announcement later this year.
Any new investment programme will primarily focus on:
- Improving the condition of the school estate.
- Establishing links across the learner journey where appropriate.
- Enabling delivery of wider Scottish Government policy objectives.
- Support for sustainable estate planning with clear investment and maintenance strategies to mitigate against future deterioration.
New buildings offer the chance to provide improved facilities for children to learn about food; and the possibility in some cases to offer gardens or other food growing opportunities.
We will work in collaboration with the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland ( ADES) and the Scottish Heads of Property Services ( SHoPS) to consider the matter of infrastructure for food growing in any new/existing schools and scope opportunities to utilise these facilities to their maximum potential.
Food Education Programme
We know the importance of educating our young people on where their food comes from, its quality and provenance, and the vital role our producers and manufacturers have in putting food on our tables. Building on previous initiatives, we are now going to bring forward a new overarching Food Education Programme incorporating over £500,000 of existing funding and a number of strands of activity, including facilitating more visits to farms for school children and working with chefs to encourage more young people into the industry.
Other current and planned knowledge activity
Food education is already provided through the Early Level of Curriculum for Excellence.
Curriculum for Excellence (covering ages 3 to 18) states food education is about more than just learning how to cook and choose food but also learning about the relationship to health and wellbeing and encompassing sustainability, advertising and culture.
A free lunch is available to children attending funded Early Learning and Childcare ( ELC) who meet free school meals eligibility criteria.
Free school lunches will be available for all young children attending ELC, from August 2020.
Currently, free school meals are offered universally to pupils in primary years 1 to 3 and to others who meet relevant eligibility criteria.
Setting the Table - nutritional guidance and food standards for ELC providers aims to ensure that children aged 0–5 in childcare settings are offered healthy and nutritious meals, snacks and drinks. By summer 2019, the guidance will be updated to reflect the latest nutritional evidence and forthcoming expansion of funded ELC provision to 1140 hours by 2020.
The Care Inspectorate considers nutrition and healthy eating during ELC inspections.
The Care Inspectorate will publish Food Matters: nurturing happy, healthy children in autumn 2018. The resource will provide childcare providers and practitioners with examples of good practice from a variety of childcare settings. The resource will focus on creating positive eating experiences for children that will help them to develop positive relationships with food. It also aims to support services to be innovative around healthy eating and to maximise the opportunities for children's learning and social development.
The Scottish Government aims to ensure that every pupil leaves school equipped with the skills, knowledge and experience they need to make better health choices.
The Chefs @ School programme aims to help Scottish chefs and cooks teach schoolchildren about food culture and cooking.
With nearly £460,000 support from Scottish Government in 2018-19 alone, the Food for Thought Fund is a competitive fund that supports food education related projects in schools to help pupils learn about food. The projects are carried out in partnership with local industry and businesses.
Scottish Government provides support for farm visits for schoolchildren, to teach them about food, farming and the countryside. We have announced that we will create more opportunities for more primary school children to have the chance to visit a farm to raise their awareness of where their food comes from and the key role Scottish farmers play as custodians of the countryside and as food producers.
Scottish Government provides support for inclusion of food as a theme in the Eco-Schools Scotland programme which focuses on sustainable consumption, environment and origins of food.
Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) funding for university research includes a wide range of food and drink related research, including the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre; activities linking research and industry on Food and Drink, Agritech and Aquaculture; and the University Innovation Fund for food and drink industry innovation related activities by universities.
The Scottish Funding Council ( SFC) is undertaking work across both the university and college sectors to improve students' diets and tackle obesity.
The Edible Gardening Project inspires and enables people from all walks of life to grow, cook and share a proportion of their own food. The Project works through a combination of Q&A sessions, seasonal events, demonstration areas, community plots and cooking sessions. The Edible Gardening team includes over 30 volunteers and they reach approximately 5,000 people each year.
Learning resources and training materials are being developed alongside an expanded digital presence for support and guidance around healthy diet and foods both before, during and after pregnancy, weaning and early childhood. The focus will be on improving skills, confidence and competence of professionals and wider practitioners to support families and young children to make good food choices.
To improve food provision and food education, and ensure schools are promoting health, Education Scotland will, by the end of 2020, publish a self-evaluation framework to support the implementation of the Schools (Health Promotion and Nutrition) (Scotland) Act 2007.
The vision is for a decline in the environmental impact of food consumption in Scotland, for the benefit of the environment, industry and the people of Scotland.
New and developing policy
Scottish Food Waste Prevention Target
In 2016, the Scottish Government announced a target of reducing all food waste in Scotland by 33% by 2025, against a 2013 baseline. This is a new target and one of the most ambitious of its kind. Zero Waste Scotland, on behalf of the Scottish Government, delivered five workshops on the Scottish food waste target during 2017, consulting a wide range of stakeholders. Outcomes from these workshops are currently forming part of the development of a set of suggested measures to achieve the target, to be published in the Scottish Government's Food Waste Action Plan later this year. Zero Waste Scotland also continues its business support offering and consumer food waste campaign work to bring about behaviour change and further food waste reductions.
Other current and planned environmental activity
The Scottish Government has committed to consulting on whether the Food Waste Reduction Target should be statutory.
Work is ongoing to the baseline data around food waste and food losses generated in industry and on the farm.
Government support the Courtauld Commitment, a UK voluntary agreement with industry, retail and hospitality to achieve a 20% cut in food waste by 2025.
Scottish Government published a discussion paper - "Developing an Environment Strategy for Scotland" - on 29 June. The aim is to create a vison and agreed outcomes setting out what we are collectively working to achieve through Scotland's environment and climate change policies. Our natural environment directly supports the productivity of our farming and fishing industries and protection of the environment will support the success of key growth sectors including food and drink.
Scottish Rural Development Programme ( SRDP) environmental practices deliver inputs on pesticides and chemicals to assist climate change and reduce the negative impact on biodiversity.
The Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH) Corporate Plan has a strong focus on investment in natural capital. The food and drink sector is among those to help realise the benefits of natural resources.
SNH is working with Scotland Food and Drink to help define environmentally responsible production and to support sustainably produced food and drink.
The development of the Scottish Venison Strategy includes looking to improve economic returns from venison, ensure best practice in welfare and the food chain, and maintain the cull of wild herds.
Through the Honey Bee Health Strategy, Scottish Government has worked closely with beekeepers (both commercial and hobbyists) to achieve a sustainable and healthy population of honey bees for pollination and honey production in Scotland.
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is contributing to global food security through its work on the wild relatives of crop plants, including members of the potato and pea families, and through public engagement.
The vision is for food companies to be a thriving feature of the economy and places where people want to work. It is for people who serve and sell food – from schools to hospitals, retailers, cafes and restaurants – to be committed to serving and selling good food. The vision is also for Scotland to be a world leader whose success makes Scotland a destination of choice for those who value quality local food and a place to whom other countries turn in order to learn how to become a Good Food Nation.
New and developing policies
Scotland attracts millions of visitors every year and this presents a great opportunity for the food and drink sector to harness visitors' growing interest in the provenance and heritage of our food and drink. We have therefore published a new Food Tourism Action Plan which aims to unlock a £1 billion growth potential opportunity over the next 10 years. The Action Plan covers a number of strands where food and tourism sectors interact and will, in due course, be backed by new investment to stimulate action. This work will provide a boost to food producers the length and breadth of Scotland as we capitalise on the best of our natural resources.
Scotland's food and drink exports have been increasing year on year since 2007 and are now worth a record £6 billion. Exports of whisky are up 54% since 2007 and exports of food are up 130%. This effort has been enabled through £4 million funding support from the Government. We want to continue this momentum and seek to get more of our businesses exporting to more markets across the world. We are therefore planning to continue to work in collaboration with the industry to bring forward a new Export Plan for Scotland's food and drink sector covering the next 5 years, building on our success and further strengthening our economy.
One of Scotland's strengths is the diversity of our larder, with fantastic businesses across a range of sectors such as whisky, gin, craft beer, seafood, red meat, dairy and grocery. We know that connecting buyers with suppliers is a proven concept that generates sales and long-standing relationships for our companies, most notably through our biennial national Showcasing Scotland event at Gleneagles and through our participation at international trade shows. We are going to build on this success with further investment in a range of events to showcase the best of Scotland, including a series of regional events throughout Scotland and a new Showcasing Scotland event in London.
Other current activity
Scotland has had Fair Trade Nation Status since 2013.
Scottish Government recently completed its consultation on the document "Stability and Simplicity: proposals for a rural funding transition period". The results are being analysed. The document recognises the need to develop a new rural support policy for Scotland in the event of the UK leaving the European Union in 2019. We are committed to ensuring stability for the agriculture sector which in turn will help to support the continued growth of our food and drink industry
The Government continues to work in partnership with the industry to deliver Ambition 2030, the new food and drink strategy for Scotland. Published last year, the strategy sets an ambition to double the value of the sector to £30 billion by the year 2030. We are supporting delivery of the strategy through a £10 million investment over a 3-year period, working in collaboration with the industry to drive growth across a range of areas.
The Scottish Government, in partnership with Scotland Food and Drink, has invested £100,000 in a new Supplier Accreditation Programme for SME food and drink businesses to help build their capability and compete for more contracts, including public sector contracts. The investment will support up to 50 businesses to achieve BRC accreditation, the globally recognised standard for quality and assurance.
With regard to a successor to Food Processing and Marketing Grant support for the industry, the UK Government has committed to replace any lost European Union funding for contracts in their entirety when entered into prior to 29 March 2019.
The Government is working in partnership with the industry to develop a series of sector specific action plans to drive forward growth across the sectors. The plans are identifying the barriers and opportunities for growth and will include a series of actions to grow the sectors. Plans have been published for the pig sector; fruit, vegetables and potatoes; and venison; and we are now working on others including seafood, craft beer and dairy.
We continue to support small and micro food producers to grow and promote their products through continued investment of £500,000 in the Connect Local advisory service and the new £250,000 Regional Food Fund.
Scottish Government provided £10,000 funding to support the Scottish Culinary Team in 2016-17 to help chefs of the future and ensure culinary teams are prepared for the Culinary Olympics going forward.
The amount of minimum space required for livestock welfare is enshrined in legislation.
Strengthened welfare of animals at time of slaughter is ensured by European Union and national legislation.
Scottish Government are currently consulting on mandatory CCTV in all live areas of abattoirs.
European Union and national legislation provides a rigorous framework to ensure the welfare of animals in transit.
The Bovine Viral Diarrhoea ( BVD) eradication scheme became mandatory in 2013. Since then, the number of cattle breeding herds exposed to BVD has fallen from 40% to under 10%.
Scottish Government has been supporting the development of a multispecies livestock database ('ScotEID') that replaces and improves on existing systems. ScotEID is a world leading system that contributes to the protection of Scotland's livestock sector from exotic disease, helps to protect public health and enables development of the sector.
Research on improved food and drink production, healthy sustainable diets and the role of short food supply networks within the broader challenge of ensuring food security in Scotland is supported as part of a wider Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme.
The focus of our primary producers – in farming and fisheries – is of course crucial to our Good Food Nation vision, particularly but not exclusively in relation to prosperity. We therefore set out below some of the key actions in these sectors that are contributing to our Good Food Nation aims.
Prosperity – farming and crofting – the source of our quality produce
Farming and crofting
Scottish Government provides oversight of a range of activities in the agriculture sector that contribute towards achievement of challenging climate change action plan targets. These include provision of support for Focus Farms; encouraging better soil management; increased uptake of carbon audits; promoting benchmarking and best practice; and improved animal welfare.
Scottish Government delivers the Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP), which is worth around £500m each year, of which:
- Pillar 1 of the CAP provides income support to farmers and crofters across Scotland, encouraging environmental benefits bringing security and stability to Scotland's food production chain.
- Pillar 2 of the CAP helps create vibrant rural communities, protect and enhance our environment, support rural businesses, deliver towards woodland creation targets and help the farming industry to grow and modernise. Since 2015, we have provided over £750m of support to over 10,000 individual projects across Scotland.
Provision of support under the Scottish Rural Development Programme ( SRDP) Beef Efficiency Scheme assists farmers to develop suckler herds; optimise genetics and increase efficiency; reduce emissions; and improve herd profitability and sustainability.
Sponsorship of LANTRA, Scotland's land based learning and training organisation, increases awareness and understanding of training provision amongst industry organisations and stakeholders and better equips those that work within the sector to gain the necessary knowledge and skills required of the sector.
Provision of support for Scotland's Monitor Farm Programme helps improve the profitability, productivity and sustainability of farming practice.
Provision of support to a range of collaborative projects under the SRDP's Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund delivers innovative projects that aim to improve efficiency, enhance profitability, improve habitats and optimise environmental performance.
We established an Agriculture Weather Advisory Panel to act as a taskforce for rapidly sharing information and best practice. This aims to improve resilience of farmers and crofters (which in turn will help support secure continued agricultural, and therefore food, production in Scotland).
We appointed agriculture champions and a National Council of Rural Advisors whose reports will help inform the future of rural Scotland.
We established a Women in Agriculture Taskforce which is working closely with organisations across the sector and in Scottish business to achieve a more sustainable and equitable future for Scottish agriculture.
Prosperity – aquaculture and fishing – the source of our quality produce
SG supports the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector. It currently employs more than 12,000 people and is worth around £620m of added value to the economy.
Aquaculture is inextricably linked to the sustainability of our rural coastal communities, supporting skills, jobs, community cohesion and local infrastructure.
The need to strike an appropriate balance between the sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry and the associated environmental impacts is recognised.
The Scottish Government and its agencies are working with the sector and with others to develop a policy and regulatory framework that enables sustainable growth while maintaining the right balance across our economic, environmental and social responsibilities.
Honouring a Programme for Government commitment, Scotland's strategic 10 year Farmed Fish Health Framework, developed with industry, launched in May 2018 and aims to improve significantly the health of farmed fish in Scotland. Work plans and milestones for each work stream of the Framework document will shortly be compiled to ensure progress is made and the priorities of the Framework are delivered.
In June this year, industry began publishing site level sea lice data and this month fulfilled a commitment made under the framework to move to pro-active and open reporting of mortality information – a pioneering approach in the farming sector
We are establishing an Interactions Working Group to look at the potential impacts of aquaculture on our wild fisheries, and where evidenced to determine what action might be taken to address these challenges.
Membership of the group has yet to be finalised but will come from aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors, Marine Scotland, Local Government, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA) and Scottish Natural Heritage. Members and the chair will have the ability to draw from external sources of expertise where appropriate. A webpage on the Marine Scotland website has been set up to enable stakeholders to follow developments.
We are currently working with the Shellfish sector to look at a real time monitoring programme for shellfish classification, with a view to commencement in April 2019.
The Scottish Government is committed to taking a sensible and proportionate approach to minimising discards and tackling unnecessary waste.
We support fishing and onshore seafood industries of all sizes to grow sustainably, and be internationally competitive, through building and maintaining access to markets.
Scotland is the UK's leading fishing nation landing 464,000 tonnes of sea fish and shellfish worth over £559m in 2017.
Around 4 tonnes of fish on average are taken from each square nautical mile of Scottish waters compared to around 1 tonne of fish per square nautical mile on average for EU waters.
9 of the 13 stocks (69%) that we measure our sustainability performance against have Total Allowable Catches set in line with Maximum Sustainable Yield for 2018. An increase from 62% in 2017.
Scottish sea fisheries produce is renowned worldwide for its quality and flavour.
Scotland is a leading nation when it comes to sustainable fisheries, pioneering innovative management measures to protect stocks and the marine environment.
Increasingly the sound and sustainable management is being recognised through accreditation of Scottish fisheries; e.g. North Sea cod, Rockall haddock, Stornoway nephrops.
The Scottish Government works inclusively with all sea fisheries stakeholders, balancing environmental, economic and social objectives to ensure effective, coherent policies tailored to local circumstances.
The Scottish Government upholds the highest standards in fisheries management. Meeting international objectives, managing fisheries towards Maximum Sustainable Yield levels and proactively introducing and adapting measures to minimise wasteful fishing practices.
In particular the Scottish Government is seeking to improve management of inshore fisheries through the establishment of pilot projects around the coast which will enhance local management of inshore resources.
Through taking actions to increase landings into Scotland, the Scottish Government is supporting the on shore processing sector by delivering more sustainable raw produce.
We will continue to build on this significant Programme of cross Government measures to support the Good Food Nation ambition, ensuring ongoing flexibility and reactive policy-making for the benefit of individuals, industry and the environment.