Salmon Farming

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Mike Rumbles Mike Rumbles Liberal Democrat

I will if I have time. I know that I have mentioned John Finnie, and I will give way to him if I have a chance to do so. However, there are a number of things that I want to say.

The committee identified a solution to what we see as a lack of effective regulation so far. In recommendation 59, we say:

The Committee recommends that Marine Scotland should be tasked with taking responsibility in delivering the necessary improvements and in taking on an overarching co-ordinating role.”

It was clear in the evidence that was given to the committee that, although many different organisations are involved in the regulation of the industry, each body takes an almost silo view of its responsibilities and looks after its own aspect of the regulatory process. Although it is obvious that each regulatory body needs to do its work—of course it does—there is no one body that takes an overview of the whole process, leading to what the committee described as a “light touch” regulation and enforcement regime. That is the key to the issue. That approach has not helped anyone, and it certainly has not helped the important industry of salmon farming.

In its response, the Scottish Government says:

SEPA, Marine Scotland, local authorities and SNH are currently working together in a new technical working group to develop proposals for strengthening protection”.

Of course that is good, but it seems to me to miss the real point that the committee makes, which is that there needs to be one body with overall responsibility for ensuring that all our regulatory bodies work in a co-ordinated and effective way and move out of their silos.