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April 20th 2020

Comment by Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation

In the first few frenetic weeks of this crisis, it was difficult for anyone to get a proper perspective on what was going on.

However, now that we are starting to look towards the recovery phase it is easier to think about how things are going to change when, eventually, we emerge from this extraordinary period.

For us in the Scottish salmon sector, one of the most gratifying and encouraging elements of the past few weeks has been the speed and efficiency of the public sector response: government and the regulators really have worked with almost incredible focus and pace.

Meetings (or, rather, video conference calls) with ministers, which would have taken weeks to arrange in normal times, were being set up within hours.

Decisions, which we would have expected to take months to agree, were being made in days.

We recognise how difficult it has been for all those involved to move so swiftly on such complex issues - and we welcome those efforts.

However, as we start to look for the faint stirrings of recovery, we are also very aware that the effects of this crisis will reverberate for years, in our sector as in many others.

The support we have had so far has been immensely helpful. But the assistance we are likely to need in the future, helping put our sector back to where it belongs: as the UK's top food export and as the most globally sought-after salmon, that is likely to take an even greater - and certainly a more sustained - effort by all of us.

As a result, for government as well as for the salmon sector, the real effort may only just be beginning.

This article was written for April's Holyrood, Scotland's award-winning current affairs magazine: Click here to subscribe.