beta

You're viewing our new website - find out more

Publication - Consultation responses

Aquaculture and Fisheries Consultation Analysis - Summary Report

Published: 10 Aug 2012
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781780459943

Summary report of the analysis of the responses to the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill Consultation, partial Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report

44 page PDF

719.2 kB

44 page PDF

719.2 kB

Contents
Aquaculture and Fisheries Consultation Analysis - Summary Report
4 Section 1 - The Sustainable Development of Aquaculture

44 page PDF

719.2 kB

4 Section 1 - The Sustainable Development of Aquaculture

Question 1. Do you agree that we should, subject to appropriate safeguards, make it a legal requirement for marine finfish operators to participate in an appropriate Farm Management Agreement ( FMA), with the sanctions for failure to do so, or to adhere to the terms of the agreement?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 11 0 1
2. Aquaculture 2 14 2
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 36 2 12
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 2 0
6. Voluntary Sector 14 0 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 14 6 14
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 83 26 40

4.1 There appeared to be general support from the majority of respondents. Support focused around the need for good husbandry and management of fish farms to be practised consistently across the sector.

4.2 Although the concept of FMAs was generally supported by the aquaculture industry, they significantly opposed the proposal to make FMAs a legal requirement. This was supported by the wider campaign responses.

4.3 Key issues discussed by consultees included the extent to which a FMA should be compulsory or voluntary, who should be involved, and the need for further thinking on other more detailed aspects of the arrangements.

Question 2. Do you agree that operators should have primary responsibility for determining the boundaries (and other management arrangements) for Management Areas, but with Scottish Ministers having a fall back power to specify alternative areas?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 8 3 1
2. Aquaculture 1 15 2
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 17 20 13
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 0 3 0
6. Voluntary Sector 6 8 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 4 15 15
8. Other Commercial 0 4 1
Overall 39 68 42

4.4 There was significant opposition to this proposal. Opposition fell primarily into one of two categories: opposition to the definition of boundaries by operators, or opposition to the proposed fallback power for Ministers.

4.5 Views on who should define the boundaries varied significantly and there was no consensus on this issue. Whilst some felt that the public sector has an important role to play in setting boundaries or having the final decision in consultation with other parties, others are strongly opposed to what they perceive to be interference in the private sector.

4.6 The aquaculture industry was strongly opposed to what they view as interference in the process. Some of those who supported the definition of boundaries by operators attached caveats to this support, mainly around a requirement for aquaculture operators to demonstrate that appropriate MAs have been adopted, with several also suggesting the benefit of a Ministerial power in instances where industry do not fulfil this responsibility.

4.7 Respondents raised a number of ways in which the boundaries of these areas could be defined (e.g. on ecological grounds rather than geographical, to consider biological, geographical, and environmental issues; taking account of cumulative and in-combination effects; good husbandry and biosecurity; etc).

Question 3. Do you agree that an independent arbitration process should be put in place (with statutory underpinning) to resolve disputes related to Farm Management Agreements?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 10 0 2
2. Aquaculture 1 15 2
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 35 1 14
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 1 1
6. Voluntary Sector 14 0 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 12 7 15
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 78 26 45
Question 4. How do you think such a system might be best developed? 90 responses

4.8 There was general support for development of a dispute resolution process. Most of those supporting the proposal indicated their preference for independent arbitration in one form or another. For example, some felt that existing legislation under the Arbitration (Scotland) Act 2010 could resolve FMA disputes by arbitration, while others raised a number of options for an arbitration process to be developed.

4.9 In contrast, the aquaculture industry was strongly opposed to the proposal, and several of these respondents were critical of the Scottish Government's halting of the Tripartite Working Group. Instead, aquaculture industry respondents supported an arbitration system proposed and arranged by the SSPO.

Question 5. Do you agree we ought to review the question of unused consents?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 11 0 1
2. Aquaculture 1 16 1
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 33 2 15
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 2 0 1
6. Voluntary Sector 13 1 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 12 8 14
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 77 29 43
Question 6. What do you consider are suitable options to promote use or relinquishment of unused consents? 95 responses

4.10 There was overall agreement with the proposal from consultees. A significant proportion of respondents from the freshwater fisheries and other sectors supported this proposal, citing for example the importance of such a review in providing an accurate assessment of unused biomass. However, the aquaculture industry was strongly opposed.

4.11 Most of the detailed responses emphasised that this issue is complex, although some suggested ideas on how a review could be achieved.

4.12 The aquaculture industry considers the right to use or not use consents to be an industry matter, and many respondents highlighted the various reasons for unused consents being in place. The industry is largely opposed to what it perceives as outside interference on this issue and several respondents felt that the Audit and Review process should be completed before a review of unused consents is undertaken. Despite its opposition, the industry supports the principle of incentives to resolve this issue.

4.13 Respondents identified numerous options to promote the use or relinquishment of unused consents including introducing incentives, attaching time limits for site development, and allowing for market-led solutions.

4.14 The reasons for sites being unused was considered by many to be an important issue. Several considered that the reasons for the non-use of a site should be considered prior to revocation of consent. Others considered that all unused sites should be incorporated back into the planning process or that consents should be revoked where sites are closed or left derelict, or whose owners are no longer operating, or where unused sites are detrimental to other operators in a MA.

4.15 Several respondents considered the case where an unused site is utilised as a firebreak or buffer zone. Some felt that such ad hoc measures were inappropriate, and that the planning system and FMAs should effectively manage the size and distance between farms without the need for firebreaks. Some suggested that unused sites that have been used as firebreaks should be preserved as such after revocation of consents, while others felt that unused sites should be re-evaluated for their suitability prior to being re-consented.

4.16 Some respondents felt that communication was important, with several stating that additional consultation should be undertaken on this issue, and others suggesting that communication between stakeholders, e.g. about site fallowing practices, could be improved and that this may help to resolve the situation.

Question 7. Do you agree that Scottish Ministers should be given powers, ultimately to revoke, or to require or request others to revoke, consents?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 9 2 1
2. Aquaculture 1 17 0
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 35 2 13
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 1 1
6. Voluntary Sector 13 1 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 13 7 14
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 77 32 40
Question 8. Should any such power relate to all or the particular consents (and if the latter, which)? 90 responses

4.17 There was support amongst a range of respondents for the introduction of these powers. Opposition to the proposal mainly came from the aquaculture industry. Discussion ranged around whether such powers should be granted, who would exercise them, the conditions in which they would be applied, and which consents should be covered.

4.18 Key issues for the aquaculture industry were 'giving powers to use in undefined situations' and concerns that this approach would be heavy-handed. One respondent was also concerned that such powers may be a potential deterrence for investment in the industry. A significant number of respondents felt that discussion between industry and regulators/other stakeholders would be a preferred approach, at least in the first instance.

4.19 Several consultees felt that there is already sufficient existing legislation in place to revoke consents. In contrast, some respondents from the freshwater fisheries sector expressed concern about the lack of existing powers, given that planning permission is permanent in nature and therefore cannot take account of the developing understanding of the interactions between aquaculture and wild salmon.

4.20 There was some discussion around who should have the powers to revoke consents: Scottish Ministers, the consenting authority, or an independent third party were included in the suggestions.

4.21 Respondents provided a range of suggestions about the application of these powers including: where sites lie unused for a specific time period (1 - 8 years);where consent conditions have been breached; and where the site is unsuitable for use for environmental and/or sustainability reasons. Some felt that these powers should only be exercised under exceptional circumstances; others considered that, as a pre-requisite, the site owner should be willing to relinquish the site.

4.22 Over half of the respondents felt that these powers should apply to all consents, and some requested that this should relate to both marine and freshwater consents. The aquaculture industry raised concerns about orphaned CAR consents and legacy sites.

Question 9. What in your view is the most appropriate approach to be taken to the collection and publication of sea-lice data?
105 responses

4.23 There was some support for combined government and industry responsibility for data collection and publication.

4.24 The timing and frequency of data reporting was discussed by many respondents. Suggestions ranged from real-time to annual reporting, with most focusing on weekly, quarterly or monthly reporting. However, some consultees suggested that this was not as important as the publication, availability and use of information collected.

4.25 Many respondents support the publication and verification of disaggregated data, but this was strongly opposed by the aquaculture industry who preferred regional data and supported the current system using an SSPO Health Database.

4.26 Public access to information was discussed by a range of stakeholders, with no consensus on this issue. Some called for improved accessibility, with several suggesting that Scottish Government/Marine Scotland involvement was necessary to ensure fairness and transparency.

4.27 There was strong support for adopting similar systems to those used in other countries (i.e. Norway, Canada (British Columbia) and Ireland).

Question 10. Do you agree that aquaculture business ought to be required to provide additional information on fish mortality, movement, disease, treatment and production as set out above?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 9 0 3
2. Aquaculture 1 16 1
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 38 0 12
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 2 0
6. Voluntary Sector 14 0 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 10 10 14
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 78 30 41
Question 11. What are your views on the timing and frequency of submission of such data? 103 responses

4.28 There was strong support for additional information to be provided, as proposed in the Consultation Document. However, there was also strong opposition to this proposal from the aquaculture sector.

4.29 Several respondents consider that powers and mechanisms for data collection already exist. Concerns were expressed about the costs associated with obtaining additional information, 'with no perceptible benefit'. Several respondents felt that the recommendations of the Healthier Fish Working Group were fit for purpose and that additional information, as proposed by the Consultation Document, was not necessary.

4.30 There were several suggestions as to which organisation should be responsible for holding submitted data, including Marine Scotland, SEPA, and the SSPO, and that data should be verified. However, some consultees raised concerns over the ability of some organisations charged with holding this data to maintain confidentiality, particularly in relation to Freedom of Information requests.

4.31 Few of the respondents who supported the proposal expressed views about the frequency of data collection. Rather, they tended to focus on the level of detail (site-specific vs. area-based, in the main) or on the frequency of reporting. As with sea-lice data (Question 9), the frequency of data reporting was discussed by many respondents, and while suggestions ranged from real-time to annual reporting, most focused on real time, weekly, quarterly or monthly reporting. Overall, the responses suggest that a flexible approach may be suitable, with the benefits of frequency to highlight issues requiring prompt action needing to be balanced with the costs of data collection.

4.32 Several respondents felt that Scotland's practices should be in line with those of other countries, with strong support amongst these for adopting the Norwegian approach.

Question 12. Do you agree that Scottish Ministers should have the powers to require SEPA to reduce biomass consent where it appears to them necessary and appropriate - for example to address concerns about fish health and welfare?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 7 3 2
2. Aquaculture 1 16 1
3. Marine fisheries 4 0 2
4. Freshwater fisheries 36 2 12
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 2 0
6. Voluntary Sector 14 0 7
7. Individuals/Politicians 13 11 10
8. Other Commercial 2 2 1
Overall 78 36 35

4.33 There was strong support from many respondents, except the aquaculture industry, for powers to reduce biomass of sites, particularly to ensure the effective treatment of sea-lice and reduce benthic pollution.

4.34 Some respondents discussed the use of sea-lice treatment medicines, and considered that this is not taken into account in the process of setting the biomass of a site. There was some disagreement about the potential for alignment of biomass and therapeutant consents. Some felt that the biomass should be reduced to match the volume of therapeutant permitted; others considered that the permitted volume of therapeutant should be increased instead. Others questioned the link between improving fish health and reducing biomass.

4.35 Some respondents, predominantly from the aquaculture industry, felt that fish health matters are the responsibility of site operators and their veterinary surgeons and that the proposed powers would be inappropriate. Concerns were also expressed that biomass reductions could lead to significant costs to farm operators and result in job losses.

Question 13. Do you agree we should make enabling legislation giving Scottish Ministers powers to place additional control requirements on wellboats?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 10 0 2
2. Aquaculture 6 11 1
3. Marine fisheries 4 0 2
4. Freshwater fisheries 36 2 12
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 2 1 0
6. Voluntary Sector 13 0 8
7. Individuals/Politicians 10 10 14
8. Other Commercial 3 1 1
Overall 84 25 40

4.36 There was strong support for this proposal from the freshwater fisheries sector, public bodies and individual respondents. Several felt that a Technical Working Group on wellboat design to consider the requirements of Scottish and international markets could be helpful.

4.37 However, there was also significant opposition to this proposal from the aquaculture industry and individual respondents. In particular, there was opposition to 'undefined enabling legislation without a clear view of purpose or application', as well as concerns about new measures burdening the industry.

4.38 Monitoring of wellboat operations was discussed by several consultees, with some supporting tighter discharge conditions and use of monitoring systems (i.e. VMS, GPS, status of valves) for wellboats.

4.39 The locations of wellboat discharges were also raised, with some calling for on-site discharges after treatments, and others calling for set up of pre-determined discharge areas located off-shore.

4.40 Several respondents felt that additional discussion between stakeholders on this issue is required, and asked for clarification on a number of factors related to the proposal (i.e. timescales, legislation).

Question 14. Do you think Scottish Ministers should be given additional powers to place controls on processing plants?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 10 0 2
2. Aquaculture 3 14 1
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 37 1 12
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 1 1
6. Voluntary Sector 13 0 8
7. Individuals/Politicians 8 10 16
8. Other Commercial 1 3 1
Overall 76 29 44

4.41 While there was support for the extension of these powers, largely to improve biosecurity (i.e. sea-lice, disease), the need to ensure that the associated costs to industry are manageable was also raised by some of these respondents.

4.42 There was significant opposition from the aquaculture industry and some individual respondents. Some respondents questioned what evidence there was to show that processing plants are contributing to the spread of sea-lice.

4.43 Several respondents felt that sufficient controls already exist through environmental and fish health legislation, and SEPA's current powers. Others felt that the proposal should be extended to cover all diseases, not just sea-lice.

Question 15. Do you agree that the regulatory framework should be the same for all seaweed farms?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 11 0 1
2. Aquaculture 14 2 2
3. Marine fisheries 3 1 2
4. Freshwater fisheries 10 2 38
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 2 0 1
6. Voluntary Sector 9 2 10
7. Individuals/Politicians 14 1 19
8. Other Commercial 2 0 3
Overall 65 8 76

4.44 Of those who responded to this question (less than half of all responses), most expressed strong support for this proposal. This view extended across the stakeholder groups.

4.45 Some respondents felt that planning consents for seaweed, finfish and shellfish farms should be with the same planning authority.

4.46 However, a few respondents considered that the regulatory framework for seaweed farms should differ depending on the size and scale of operations, with tighter controls on larger, industrial-scale sites.

Question 16. Do you agree that the most appropriate approach to regulation of this sector would be through marine licensing?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 6 5 1
2. Aquaculture 3 14 1
3. Marine fisheries 4 0 2
4. Freshwater fisheries 12 1 37
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 1 1 1
6. Voluntary Sector 10 1 10
7. Individuals/Politicians 7 8 19
8. Other Commercial 0 2 3
Overall 43 32 74
Question 17. If not, what alternative arrangements would you suggest? 60 responses

4.47 There was no consensus on the appropriate regulatory approach for seaweed cultivation.

4.48 Of those who responded to this question (around half of all responses), just over half expressed support for marine licensing. This view extended across the stakeholder groups but rested primarily with the marine fisheries, voluntary and freshwater fisheries sectors.

4.49 There was strong opposition from the aquaculture industry, who felt that unless all aquaculture development is moved to the marine licensing system, all planning consents should be with the Local Authority currently responsible for aquaculture developments.

4.50 Several local authorities supported regulation of seaweed cultivation through the planning system, indicating that existing frameworks were in place to address this issue.

4.51 However, some consultees supported a move to marine licensing for both seaweed cultivation and other types of aquaculture. Some felt that licensing would be the most appropriate system to deal with marine development, and that planning should focus on terrestrial development.

4.52 Others considered that there was no need for a single regime. One respondent suggested that seaweed farms should be covered by the CAR, as opposed to either marine licensing or planning.

4.53 Some consultees commented on the need to avoid undue regulation, and highlighted the need for a proportionate approach on this issue.

4.54 One respondent considered that the proposal to regulate seaweed cultivation should be widened to include seaweed harvesting.

Question 18. Do you agree that we should provide for additional powers for Scottish Ministers in relation to commercially damaging native species?

Sector Yes No No comment
1. Public Bodies 10 0 2
2. Aquaculture 5 11 2
3. Marine fisheries 3 0 3
4. Freshwater fisheries 17 2 31
5. Professional/Academic Bodies 2 0 1
6. Voluntary Sector 6 5 10
7. Individuals/Politicians 6 8 20
8. Other Commercial 2 0 3
Overall 51 26 72

4.55 There was support for this proposal amongst those who responded to this question (just over half of all responses), including strong support from the freshwater fisheries sector. However, there was strong opposition from the aquaculture industry.

4.56 Several respondents were uncertain about the definition and context of 'commercially damaging native species', asking for additional explanation and discussion with industry and other stakeholders. Some considered that this term could be understood to include otters, marine mammals and native freshwater fish, and concerns were expressed that the powers could be used to control native species growing under natural conditions.

4.57 There was concern amongst respondents, predominantly from the aquaculture industry, regarding the introduction of 'open-ended enabling powers' for Ministers.

4.58 Some respondents supported the use of powers in some circumstances, particularly for identified problems such as 'Mytilus trossulus' (bay mussel).


Contact