Future of fisheries

A consultation is underway to support a sustainable future for aquaculture and freshwater fisheries, and the effective management of interactions between these two sectors.

The consultation also includes proposals to update enforcement provisions for aquaculture and fisheries, and a review of the approach to cost sharing and charges. The consultation will inform the development of a new Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill, which will build on existing legislation, strategic frameworks and good practice.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change and Banffshire and Buchan coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“Scotland is home to valuable aquaculture and freshwater fisheries sectors that make important economic contributions, particularly in remote, rural communities. We need to ensure that both these sectors - and in particular farmed salmon and wild salmon interests - can continue to develop and coexist harmoniously.

“Good progress has been made in recent years on a number of fronts. The Ministerial Group on Aquaculture has put focus on key issues and developments, including overseeing the renewal of a Strategic Framework for Aquaculture. Meanwhile the delivery of a Strategic Framework for Freshwater Fisheries and creation of local fishery plans has demonstrated the shared commitment to improved management of our recreational wild fisheries.

“Last year increased farmed salmon production was worth around £540 million, while 2010 figure for rod catches of wild salmon were the highest on record. This demonstrates that both sectors can be supported to grow and thrive together.

“But we must not be complacent. That’s why we’re consulting on possible changes and legislation to ensure continued and improved high standards of management in both sectors. We want to strike the right balance and not impose unnecessary or disproportionate burdens, therefore I welcome all views through the consultation phase.”

The Aquaculture and Fisheries Consultation will run until March 2, 2012.

Aquaculture employs over 1,500 people directly in Scotland. Salmon farming, Scotland’s largest food export, is the dominant area, while shellfish production is growing. In 2010 over 150,000 tonnes of farmed salmon was produced, up 6.9 per cent on the previous year and worth £539.6 million.