Salmon Farming

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

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Photo of Tavish Scott Tavish Scott Liberal Democrat

Presiding Officer, salmon farming provides 110 direct jobs in the north isles of Shetland; 23 per cent of Scottish production of farmed salmon is in Shetland; the industry employs 421 people in the islands that I represent; and the activity is worth £14 million to the local economy—such facts are never mentioned in that kind of speech from members on those benches.

There is another side to the report that I find puzzling. The minister rightly mentioned the food and drink strategy, but there is no mention of that in the committee report. There would be no food and drink sector in Scotland without the salmon farming industry which, as the minister said, exports to 50 countries, nor would there be the range of people who now work in the industry. In evidence to the committee, Ben Hadfield of Marine Harvest said:

“It used to be a job with a farm manager and farm hands; now it has become more technical, and we are employing a lot of scientists, veterinarians, people with information technology skills and so on.”—[

Official Report, Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee

, 2 May 2018; c 24.]

In its submission to members in advance of the debate, Scottish Sea Farms pointed out with regard to fish welfare, which has not been mentioned by many other members today, that there are now 36 farm-based fish health specialists, three in-house vets, two fish welfare auditors, two fish welfare officers and one head of fish health. That is a huge number of incredibly able people.