Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:55 pm on 1st March 2007.

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Photo of Sarah Boyack Sarah Boyack Labour 4:55 pm, 1st March 2007

I am conscious that this has been neither the longest nor the most contentious or fractious debate that we have ever had in the Parliament, so I hope that I can follow the example of previous deputy ministers in speaking until 5 o'clock—I cannot guarantee it.

As many members have said, the bill is absolutely not an end to the Parliament's interest in aquaculture and fisheries. There will be monitoring of the implementation of the bill. We have been supported ably by the freshwater fisheries forum. The speeches that have been made reflect the fact that there has been a lot of participation and that a lot of work has been done by different sectors of the fishing industry. Right from the start, a range of stakeholders have been involved in producing the bill that the Executive has taken through the Parliament. I know that there is enthusiasm throughout the Parliament for further work to be done on the issue.

Dennis Canavan was right to point out that there has been a long-standing commitment to do further work. In the next session, the Parliament will need to address aquaculture in the forthcoming strategic framework on freshwater fisheries. I reassure Dennis Canavan and John Home Robertson—who also has a long-standing interest in the issue—that we want stakeholders to be fully involved in designing the future management structures. I got the sense from this afternoon's debate that there will be a lot of interest in this work throughout the country. We need to ensure that the different perspectives are brought around the table to design the next legislation that is required.

It was said that Dennis Canavan has shown consistent interest in aquaculture in this Parliament. Officials tell me that his interest goes way back beyond this Parliament, as he was active in representing the views of anglers at the United Kingdom Parliament throughout his time as an MP.

I thank the many individuals and organisations who helped shape the bill. Without their input, we would not have had a short and uncontentious debate this afternoon. They have helped demonstrate that the best solutions come from working through proposals with practitioners who have to live and work with the issues every day.

I also thank my officials and the legal team and the drafters who worked on the bill. I thank the Parliament, particularly the committee members and their clerks who helped in the process of consideration and scrutiny of the bill. A lot of technical issues had to be addressed. I thank Maureen Macmillan for her work in the Parliament and for taking over seamlessly as convener of the Environment and Rural Development Committee when I moved to the other end of the table.