A new poll has revealed that a majority of Scots who live near salmon farms support the sector. 

Residents said that salmon farms provide jobs for local people, help to improve the local economy, and provide a high-quality product that Scotland can be proud of. 

The research revealed that 54 per cent of those with at least some knowledge of the sector were “favourable” towards it – well over twice the number who were unfavourable (23 per cent). 

In all five areas where salmon farms are based, favourability was higher than opposition. 

The work was carried out by independent pollsters Ipsos Scotland, members of the British Polling Council.  

Carried out at the beginning of February, it sought the views of adults in Argyll and Bute, north-west Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles. 

Four in five (83 per cent) said they knew at least a little about the sector, including 42 per cent who said they knew a great deal or a fair amount. 

The survey also found that 53 per cent supported salmon farms being located in their local area, and just 17 per cent opposed this. 

Salmon farms support around 10,000 jobs in Scotland, and overseas sales of salmon exceeded £600 million last year, reaffirming its place as the UK’s largest food export. 

The sector has also adopted a sustainability charter to ensure that Scottish salmon is world-leading in the provision of healthy, tasty, nutritious food, produced in the most responsible and sustainable way. 

But there are concerns that the growth of salmon farming in Iceland and Scandinavia could squeeze the Scottish sector and hold back the economic potential for rural communities. 

Recently, Professor Russel Griggs published a report for the Scottish Government recommending a change in the regulatory structure which would enable the sector to grow and better invest in the communities in which they are based. 

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: 

“This poll shows that most people living near salmon farms in rural Scotland are supportive of salmon farming and appreciate the jobs this provides. 

“The sector supports around 10,000 jobs across Scotland and provides a highly nutritious food both at home and around the world, produced to the highest environmental and sustainability standards. 

“We conducted this independent research among our neighbours as it’s important that we listen to local communities, and this confirms that local people are supportive of salmon farming. 

“Salmon farmers work hard to earn and keep the trust of the local communities they live and work in. 

“I’m confident that the farm-raised salmon sector will continue to grow responsibly and sustainably in the regions we operate in in Scotland, providing vital jobs for the local economy.” 

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