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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 15:21 GMT
Fish farming policy unveiled
Salmon farm
Concerns have been raised about pollution
Plans for the future of fish farming have been outlined by Deputy Environment Minister Allan Wilson.

Mr Wilson said the measures detailed in the Strategic Framework for Aquaculture were aimed at ensuring a sustainable future for the industry in Scotland.

Environmentalists have voiced concern about a growing problem of pollution from fish farms and escapes of stock.

The minister promised that, should Labour remain in power after the Holyrood elections in May, 100,000 would be set aside annually to support the establishment of a Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum.
The framework signals the Scottish Executive's commitment to an aquaculture industry which develops sustainably
Allan Wilson, Deputy Environment Minister

Efforts would be made to address concerns about fish farming on other marine life, including a shake-up of monitoring systems and guidelines for producers and regulators.

The minister also promised a review of policies on the situation or relocation of fish farms in coastal areas.

Environmental group Friends of the Earth Scotland said there was a clear need to update the current legislation on fish farming.

Speaking at the Sea Change Conference in Dunblane, Mr Wilson said the Scottish Executive's broad consultation had included views from industry and environmental groups, as well as regulators and those in the retail sector.

Cut salmon
Plans for regulation were welcomed
He said: "The framework signals the Scottish Executive's commitment to an aquaculture industry which develops sustainably, and our recognition of the important contribution the industry makes to Scotland's economy, particularly in rural areas."

Green MSP Robin Harper said he was pleased that regulations were being introduced for an industry that "is largely unregulated".

However, he said: "The failure of the executive to urgently bring in revised locational guidelines in order to get these fish farms moved from the mouths of salmon rivers and other sensitive areas, means that sea lice will continue to decimate wild salmon and trout for at least another three years.

"Wild salmon are being driven to extinction in Scottish rivers and there is clear evidence pointing to fish farms.

"I have repeatedly called for assistance to be provided to fish farmers to enable the most poorly situated salmon farms to be moved immediately."

'Vital industry'

Lord Lindsay, chairman of Scottish Quality Salmon, also addressed the conference and stressed that investment was crucial.

He said: "The launch of the Strategic Framework for Aquaculture is a positive commitment by the Scottish Executive to a confident and forward-looking strategic direction for a vital Scottish industry.

"Scottish aquaculture deserves this recognition so that it can build on its success to date and, with a proper strategic framework, deliver ever greater benefits to all interests through competitiveness, investments and sustainability."

Environmental campaign group WWF Scotland said regulation was a step forward.

Joanne Macauley reports
"Money will be given to a Scottish aquaculture forum"

Farmed salmon 'infect wild fish'
03 Oct 02 |  Science/Nature
IVF plan hatched to save salmon
08 Mar 02 |  Scotland
Wild salmon face numbers crisis: WWF
01 Jun 01 |  Science/Nature
GM 'solution' to over-fishing
29 Sep 00 |  Science/Nature
Atlantic salmon in short supply
31 May 00 |  Science/Nature

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