The Scottish Wildlife Trust has called for stronger management and greater transparency of Scottish fish farms as part of its evidence on the Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill.
The Bill is a chance to reform fish farming, putting obligations on the industry to protect the natural environment which is so important to the global brand that is Scottish seafood.
Alex Kinninmonth of the Scottish Wildlife Trust will give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee in person on 5th December.
Although mandatory publication of data, such as the results of sea lice monitoring, has not been included in the Bill, the Scottish Wildlife Trust believes that this is essential to fully assess strategies for the control of sea lice and gain a broader understanding of the impacts on wild salmon and sea trout.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Alex Kinninmonth said:
“The reputation of Scottish farmed fish products depends to a considerable degree on the quality of Scotland’s aquatic environment. Quite apart from the need to minimise impacts on ecological grounds, it makes every sense for the industry to minimise impacts to reduce the risk to their own reputation.
“The lack of publicly accessible farm-specific data is a major barrier to assessing the impacts of fish farming on wild fish. We believe the publication of sea lice data should be a legal requirement. It would not only deliver a more accountable industry, but would also improve the health of Scotland’s wild salmon and sea trout.”