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March 25th 2020

The salmon farming sector has welcomed the temporary regulatory flexibility agreed with SEPA and Marine Scotland to help manage the impacts of reduced staff availability and disruption to processing and retail distribution as a result of Covid-19.

While the overriding focus is to protect public health, it is also important to look after the welfare of livestock and help ensure a supply of fresh food to UK supermarkets.

COVID-19: Temporary relaxation of SEPA biomass rules

The SSPO and its members have anticipated that the likelihood of reduced staff as well as disruption to fish processing and reduced access to markets will mean that fish may have to be kept in the water for longer with subsequent impacts on monitoring, fish health and fallowing.

Anne Anderson, SSPO Sustainability Director said:

"All salmon farmers are working, first and foremost, to ensure the safety of their workforces. They also have a duty of care, as farmers, to look after their fish and adhere to the rigorous regulations that support salmon farming.

"However, we welcome the recognition by regulators that these are exceptional circumstances and are grateful for their pragmatic proposals. The flexibility around these issues will be extremely helpful.

"The sector's commitment to communicate with SEPA will ensure that both regulator and companies can monitor progress and anticipate changing circumstances in order to take the necessary steps to look after the fish and the environment."

SSPO will continue to work with SEPA to discuss the developing situation and how the sector can continue to maintain food supply.

Link to the SEPA statement on Temporary Regulatory Position can be read: https://coronavirus.sepa.org.uk/media/1013/temp_reg_position_finfish_aqua.pdf