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February 9th 2023

Tomorrow (FRI) marks the one-year deadline for an overhaul of Scotland's aquaculture regulation which a review found to be "not fit for purpose".

Professor Russel Griggs' report for the Scottish Government concluded that the current set-up needs urgent change to deliver on the full potential of the blue economy, and help rural and coastal communities to thrive.

The consents and licensing process for salmon farmers is unnecessarily lengthy and there are several regulatory bodies involved, leading to massive planning delays and bureaucracy.

If the system is more streamlined, as recommended by Griggs and adopted in Norway, Scotland's farm-raised salmon sector can compete with Scandinavian neighbours and deliver the sustainable growth needed to generate more for the economy, and rear one of the most nutritious foods that people can eat.

The Griggs report was published on February 10 last year and its findings were immediately accepted by the Scottish Government, including the following recommendation: "The Scottish Government work with all parties through a project board to produce, within 12 months, a 10-year framework for each part of the aquaculture sector (finfish, shellfish, and seaweed) within which all must operate".

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

"We warmly welcomed the Griggs report and commend the ongoing personal commitment from Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon to drive the much-needed change.

"This is about better - not less - regulation, and we are ready to work constructively with government and regulators to deliver improvements across our shared social, economic and environmental priorities.

"By cutting the red tape, Scottish salmon will have an even brighter future, sustaining jobs and communities, boosting the nation's physical and mental health, and protecting our precious marine environment.

"We urge the government to swiftly adopt the recommendations so that Scottish farm-raised salmon can continue to be one of our country's greatest success stories."

The full Griggs Report can be read here.