08. We will support the sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector, including through the continuing work of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group (AILG) and the Scottish Government’s Capacity Working Group

Implementation Lead(s): Scottish Government

Locations: Coast, marine, land based activities

Further reading:
Scottish Government: Marine Planning
Scottish Government Aquaculture
Scottish Government Planning and Aquaculture

Strategic Farmed Fish Health Framework Working Group

Environmental Mitigation: Mitigation measures have been identified in:

Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill

Seaweed Policy Statement

As part of the consultation process on the Seaweed Policy Statement a Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment was also carried out

Sustainability Appraisal for the National Marine Plan

Farm management practices including Management Agreements and Escape Contingency Plans help to mitigate any impacts.  In addition licensing requirements and conditions are in place to help protect the environment.

 Milestones to date:

2013 – Published Circular on the relationship between the statutory land use planning system and marine planning and licensing.

2015 – Conclusion of three year project to identify areas of opportunity and restriction for finfish and shellfish aquaculture; provisional results requiring further development

2015- Publication of A Technical Standard for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture – The purpose of the Standard is to help prevent escapes of finfish as a result of technical failure and related issues at Scottish finfish farms.

2016- Publication of the Industry Aquaculture Growth to 2030 report and establishment of an Industry Leadership Group for Aquaculture.

2017- The Scottish Government reaffirmed its approach to sustainable growth in aquaculture in 2017 in a joint Ministerial Statement by the Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing and Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham

2018- Permitted Development Rights Regulations updated- Regulations were updated to provide greater operational flexibility to fish and shellfish farm operators to replace and upgrade equipment in the marine environment.

2018- Scottish Government published Scotland’s 10 Year Farmed Fish Health Framework, co-produced with industry. This Framework will provide a strategic, evidence-based approach to the short and long-term improvement of fish health in Scottish Aquaculture. Sub-groups to progress workstreams identified by the Framework will consider: Information Flow and Transparency, Gill Health, Sea Lice, Cleanerfish, Production Cycle and on-Farm Management, Licensing Regime and Medicine Use and Climate Change and Ocean Acidification.

2018- New Salmon Interactions Workstream to provide expert advice on mitigating pressures on wild salmon. As part of the workstream, a working group has been established to examine, as an initial task, the interactions between farmed and wild salmon, and make recommendations on how any associated impacts can be minimised.

Ongoing Activity:

2017 – Publish Revised Circular on Planning for Aquaculture.

2017 onwards – Marine Scotland and the Crown Estate commissioned an independent review of the consenting process, which reported in 2016.  This project considered the whole consenting process for aquaculture from an objective viewpoint and made recommendations for improvements. The recommendations are now being progressed.

In 2015 Marine Scotland and The Crown Estate jointly commissioned an independent review of the consenting process for aquaculture. The final report of the review was published in July 2016. Included within the report was a longer term recommendation to look at the potential for an alternative consenting regime. This recommendation is being progressed in part through the SARF commissioned report on Marine Licensing, which will help inform our thoughts and approach going forward, as well as the recent RECC Committee report on salmon farming and the recent Sepa consultation on their Finfish Aquaculture Sector Plan.

In addition, the newly established Interactions Working Group (which will examine and provide advice on the interactions between wild and farmed salmon) (https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Salmon-Trout-Coarse/salmon ) will as part of its considerations, make recommendations, including a delivery plan of agreed actions and timescales, for a future interactions approach, including the need for any further research, changes to planning advice and environmental monitoring and potential use of ‘adaptive management’ techniques.

As part of this, a technical working group (Sepa, Marine Scotland and other public sector bodies- in consultation with the Interactions Working Group)  will develop a risk-based policy framework on managing the interactions between marine cage salmon farms, sea lice and wild salmon and trout.

2018: Complete sensitivity maps for wild salmon and sea trout and use to inform development consent process for finfish aquaculture.

2030 – The Scottish Government supports the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group as it seeks to deliver the industry’s growth strategy by 2030.  The strategy aims to double the economic contribution of the sector from £1.8 billion in 2016, to £3.6 billion by 2030 and double the number of jobs to 18,000 by 2030.



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