Salmon Scotland successfully campaigned to block damaging plans for highly protected marine areas.

In April 2023, the SNP in collaboration with the Scottish Greens, launched a consultation on designating Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) which would see at least 10 per cent of coastal waters around Scotland closed to human activity, imposing an extra barrier on aquaculture expansion, an already highly regulated industry.

During the consultation period, Salmon Scotland warned that HPMAs could put jobs in already fragile coastal communities at risk and there was no scientific justification to support the introduction of HPMAs.

In June, Salmon Scotland partnered with six major seafood organisations to launch a petition at Holyrood challenging the Scottish Government to drop their plans for HPMAs.

The ‘Seafood Coalition’, consisting of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Seafood Scotland, Scottish Association of Fish Producers’ Organisations, Community Fisheries Inshore Alliance and Scottish Seafood Association and Salmon Scotland, urged ministers to “follow the science” and develop an evidence-based approach that considers all pressures on the marine environment in a balance manner.

Finally, in June 2023, the Scottish government shelved the HPMAs proposal indefinitely.

HPMAs united coastal communities and MSPs in total opposition, as they posed a risk of banning all human activity from vast swathes of Scotland’s coastline.

Salmon Scotland welcomed welcomed the Scottish Government's confirmation that HPMAs, as currently conceived, will be scrapped.

The decision comes as a massive relief to salmon farmers and others who were concerned about the impact on their jobs.

We are grateful to all the MSPs who have spoken up in support of our sector during these difficult months and to those who signed our petition outside Holyrood. We commit to working with the Scottish Government to develop workable proposals that safeguard both livelihoods and the marine environment on which they rely.