Objectives and policies for this sector should be read subject to those set out in the General Policies and Strategic Objectives. It is recognised that not all of the objectives can necessarily be achieved directly through the marine planning system, but they are considered important context for planning and decision making.
An aquaculture industry that is sustainable, diverse, competitive economically viable and which contributes to food security whilst minimising environmental impact.
With due regard to the marine environment and carrying capacity, support for the industry's target to grow marine finfish (including farmed Atlantic salmon) production sustainably to 210,000 tonnes; and shellfish, particularly mussels, to 13,000 tonnes sustainably by 2020.
A proportionate and transparent regulatory framework within which the industry can achieve these targets.
Quality employment and sustainable economic activity in remote and rural areas, as well as more widely in Scotland.
Improve business confidence and industry investment and reduce environmental impact by identifying areas where sustainable aquaculture growth is optimal, taking account of key resource and constraints considerations.
Maximise benefits to Scotland and to local communities from the Scottish aquaculture value chain.
Support research and development, including trials and technical innovation, to improve knowledge and understanding of the requirements for sustainability of the industry, with a particular focus on the issues of sea lice, containment and interactions with other activities.
Marine planning policies
AQUACULTURE 1: Marine planners and decision makers should seek to identify appropriate locations for future aquaculture development and use, including the potential use of development planning briefs as appropriate. System carrying capacity (at the scale of a water body or loch system) should be a key consideration.
AQUACULTURE 2: Marine and terrestrial development plans should jointly identify areas which are potentially suitable and sensitive areas which are unlikely to be appropriate for such development, reflecting Scottish Planning Policy and any Scottish Government guidance on the issue. There is a continuing presumption against further marine finfish farm developments on the north and east coasts to safeguard migratory fish species.
AQUACULTURE 3: In relation to nutrient enhancement and benthic impacts, as set out under Locational Guidelines for the Authorisation of Marine Fish Farms in Scottish Waters, fish farm development is likely to be acceptable in Category 3 areas, subject to other criteria being satisfied. A degree of precaution should be applied to consideration of further fish farming development in Category 2 areas and there will be a presumption against further fish farm development in Category 1 areas.
AQUACULTURE 4: There is a presumption that further sustainable expansion of shellfish farms should be located in designated shellfish waters if these have sufficient capacity to support such development.
AQUACULTURE 5: Aquaculture developments should avoid and/or mitigate adverse impacts upon the seascape, landscape and visual amenity of an area, following SNH guidance on the siting and design of aquaculture.
AQUACULTURE 6: New aquaculture sites should not bridge Disease Management Areas although boundaries may be revised by Marine Scotland to take account of any changes in fish farm location, subject to the continued management of risk.
AQUACULTURE 7: Operators and regulators should continue to utilise a risk based approach to the location of fish farms and potential impacts on wild fish.
AQUACULTURE 8: Guidance on harassment at designated seal haul out sites should be taken into account and seal conservation areas should also be taken into account in site selection and operation. Seal licences will only be granted where other management options are precluded or have proven unsuccessful in deterrence.
AQUACULTURE 9: Consenting and licensing authorities should be satisfied that appropriate emergency response plans are in place.
AQUACULTURE 10: Operators should carry out pre-application discussion and consultation, and engage with local communities and others who may be affected, to identify and, where possible, address any concerns in advance of submitting an application.
AQUACULTURE 11: Aquaculture equipment, including but not limited to installations, facilities, moorings, pens and nets must be fit for purpose for the site conditions, subject to future climate change. Any statutory technical standard must be adhered to. Equipment and activities should be optimised in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
AQUACULTURE 12: Applications which promote the use of sustainable biological controls for sea lice (such as farmed wrasse) will be encouraged.
AQUACULTURE 13: Proposals that contribute to the diversification of farmed species will be supported, subject to other objectives and policies being satisfied.
AQUACULTURE 14: The Scottish Government, aquaculture companies and Local Authorities should work together to maximise benefit to communities from aquaculture development.
Regional policy: Regional marine plans should consider the potential for sustainable growth of aquaculture in their region, taking into account the policies set out above, and working in close partnership with terrestrial planners, SEPA, Marine Scotland, SNH and other regulators. <applies to inshore waters>
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