Farmed and wild salmon sectors seek consensus

Farmed and wild salmon sectors seek consensus

THE first meeting of the farmed and wild salmon interactions group, held yesterday in Edinburgh, got off to a good start, according to its chairman, John Goodlad.
The group, established by Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing in May as part of the Strategic Framework for Farmed Fish Health, includes representatives from the farming and wild salmon sectors, as well as from government and regulatory bodies.
Its aim is to find a common approach between aquaculture and wild salmon leaders, particularly in relation to sea lice management.
The group was a good cross section, said Goodlad (pictured), and it was ‘an excellent meeting’.
‘There was a real feeling from everybody there that we wanted to make progress and wanted to make progress quickly.
‘Our task is to produce a series of recommendations which will be passed to the two cabinet secretaries, Fergus Ewing and Roseanna Cunningham [environment], and then they will act on those recommendations.’
The group includes Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, and Julie Hesketh-Laird, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, as well as Fisheries Management Scotland, as the voice of wild salmon interests.
A schedule of meetings has been set up, with the next one planned for November – ‘everybody is agreed we should try and do this job, obviously as efficiently and as well as we can, but also as quickly as we can’, said Goodlad.
While the recommendations must be ‘evidence based’, there is not time to undertake new scientific research.
‘If there is something that can be done quickly that can enhance existing knowledge, then we’ll do it, but we’re not in the game of commissioning research, which would take far too long. We’re going to have to work with what’s already there.’
He said his aspiration was to reach a consensus and recommendations that improve wild salmon and also improve the salmon farming industry.
‘It’s a high bar, it’s not going to be easy, but I think we got off to a good start. There is a real feeling that we’ve got to make this work, this time.’
This is the third interactions group, and there is pressure for it to produce more concrete results than previous groups.
Goodlad also said there was agreement that deliberations must be transparent, with minutes posted on a website.
SEPA, SNH, Marine Scotland, Scottish Environment Link are also in the group, as is Marine Scotland Science Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory in Pitlochry, and a planning representative from the local authorities.

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