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Supporting Scottish salmon

Published: 17 Jun 2018 10:00

New initiative to improve health of wild salmon.

A new Salmon Interactions Workstream to provide expert advice on mitigating pressures on wild salmon has been launched by the Scottish Government.

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.

The group will be chaired independently by John Goodlad, who has extensive experience across the sector and is currently Chairman of Fisheries Innovation Scotland, and the membership will come from the aquaculture and wild fisheries sectors, Marine Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Natural Heritage. Both the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and Fisheries Management Scotland have welcomed the group’s establishment and remit.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Wild salmon is one of Scotland’s most iconic species but the sector faces significant challenges, including declining numbers. The development of this new interactions working group will therefore play a vital role in the industry’s future, providing advice on mitigating the impact of aquaculture on our wild salmon populations.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“I am delighted to launch the Salmon Interactions Workstream and Working Group. John Goodlad will bring a wealth of experience to his role as Chair, and the membership of the group will ensure that industry and relevant stakeholders are well represented as we look at how we can ensure a sustainable and thriving future for both farmed and wild salmon.”

Chair of the group John Goodlad said:

“I welcome the opportunity to help drive forward discussions between the aquaculture and wild fishery sectors. I am very aware that both Mr Ewing and Ms Cunningham wish to see clear progress, and I already know that both sectors will be engaging with the process in a positive and enabling manner, building on the exchanges during the Parliamentary process over the last few months.”

Background

  1. The group will:
  • Examine the conclusions from the Parliamentary Inquiry into farmed salmon in Scotland
  • Evaluate current Scottish Government policy and advice governing wild/farmed salmon sea lice interactions
    1. Review the existing and planned projects around these interactions
    2. Make recommendations, including a delivery plan of agreed actions and timescales, for a future interactions approach

2. The population of Scottish Atlantic salmon has declined dramatically, by more than 50%, from around 1.25m in the 1960s to 600,000 in 2016

3. There is no single cause for this decline and some of the impacts on salmon are inevitably beyond our control. It is therefore essential that industry, government and stakeholders work together to manage those pressures which we can control

4. John Goodlad:

    • Chairs the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group, which represents the catching and fish processing sectors of the Scottish pelagic industry
    • Chairs Fisheries Innovation Scotland, which bring together government, scientists, industry and other key stakeholders to collaborate on research, knowledge exchange and education
    • Is a senior fisheries advisor to Prince Charles' International Sustainability Unit. Respected by both sectors