Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:44 pm on 1st March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat 4:44 pm, 1st March 2007

I have been sent a note that tells me that I have less time than I thought I had, so I shall go a little faster.

As the minister said, the debate has been worth while. I like his description of the bill as a strategic framework for Scottish aquaculture. In my constituency and that of Rob Gibson and Eleanor Scott, there is no doubt that fish farming is hugely important. A company such as Loch Duart, which is based at Scourie, relies on its reputation for producing first-class salmon without any troubles. However, sea lice and escapees have been a background worry for us all, so the bill is most welcome.

Although I am not a member of the Environment and Rural Development Committee, I serve a constituency that is connected with fish farming and I am aware of what has been done. I pay tribute to the inclusive approach of the Executive. I have seen with my own eyes that it has talked directly with the industry and the rod-and-line interests. That has been a template of how to do things in the future, as is recognised by members of other parties.

The debate has covered many different aspects, but of particular interest was the issue to which Eleanor Scott referred—the parasite Gyrodactylus salaris. As Ross Finnie said, there is a low risk of the parasite coming into the country, and I understand that the use of fishing equipment has never been implicated in that. Nevertheless, I am assured that the Executive remains ready and poised, should the dreadful parasite appear. I accept the minister's point that the legislation should not be prescriptive.