November 7th 2020

Scottish Salmon Sustainability Charter

A major new blueprint setting out a long-term vision for Scotland's successful farmed salmon sector has been published.

Green jobs and sustainable operations underpin this ground-breaking new roadmap for Scottish salmon - the country's number one food export.

A Better Future For Us All, which encapsulates all aspects of farming life, features key environmental pledges. These include a commitment to becoming net zero in greenhouse gas emissions before 2045 and being 100 per cent reliant on renewable energy.

The pledges in the document include:

  • The sector will source 100 per cent of its fish feed ingredients from sustainable sources and there will be full traceability of all ingredients.
  • It will work towards having 100 per cent recyclable packaging.
  • Increase the provision of high quality affordable housing in remote communities in partnership with government, local authorities and other key partners, incorporating greener approaches wherever possible.

But this Sustainability Charter goes further and deeper than the environment, committing the sector to achieving key targets in fish health and welfare, community support, employment and maintaining the highest standards for the food itself, Scottish salmon.

Scottish salmon farmer and fish health expert, Britt

There will be a clear new focus on qualifications, careers and a diverse workforce as well as innovation-led development which will secure further progress in tackling some of the key challenges the sector faces.

READ THE FULL CHARTER HERE - Scottish Salmon: A Better Future For Us All

Tavish Scott, the incoming Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), hailed the document as "momentous" and "ground-breaking".

Mr Scott said: "We already have an incredibly good environmental story to tell with a low carbon footprint, low freshwater use and great feed conversion rates. But, by publishing this document today, we declare our commitment to go further and meet even more exacting standards in the years to come."

Mr Scott added: "We lead the world in many aspects of farming salmon. We also enjoy a well-deserved global reputation for producing the world's best salmon. But this document shows our commitment to stay out in front, evolving the way we farm to make sure our environmental and sustainability credentials remain the best in the world."

Tavish Scott, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO)

Other commitments in the document include:

  • Scotland's fish farmers will improve pen structures to make sure all fish are prevented from escaping.
  • The sector will direct more money and resource into farming communities.
  • Scotland's salmon farmers will install electric vehicle charging points.
  • The sector will establish a salmon experience visitor centre.
  • The sector will work with government, regulators and other bodies to establish innovation sites to trial new technology.
  • The sector will create clear career-development paths and focus on long-term skills and recruitment to provide more high-quality jobs in rural areas.

Atholl Duncan, Chair of the SSPO, said: "Scotland's recovery from the Covid pandemic has to be green, it has to be sustainable and it has to be led by successful global brands. This new vision for the Scottish salmon sector reflects our commitment to meet all those requirements. We can help harness the potential of the blue economy to drive forward the green recovery that Scotland wants to see."

Mr Duncan added: "Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first commercially harvested farmed salmon in Scotland. This vision will take us forward into the next 50 years."

In a joint statement, Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Tourism, and Roseanna Cunningham, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, said: "We very much welcome and endorse this vision for the industry; it is bold, ambitious and promotes a sustainable aspiration towards supporting the local communities it serves.

"The industry is a key employer in rural areas and with the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and threats from Brexit, we are pleased that the sector can continue to bring benefits to and nurture these fragile rural areas.

"The sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry is an important part of the Blue Economy model that we are driving forward; and we welcome the industry's commitment to continued research and innovation which will enable sustainable growth while maintaining the right balance across Scotland's economic, environmental and social responsibilities."

Notes to editors:

  1. There are five sections in the document: animal welfare, environment, food, people and community.
  2. The vision has been developed over a 12-month period. The process has involved numerous stakeholders with an interest in salmon farming, including non-governmental bodies and sector critics.
  3. Crucially, this process was partly led by young people working in the sector as they have most at stake from a sustainable, responsible long-term future for salmon farming in Scotland.

DOWNLOAD - Scottish Salmon: A Better Future For Us All