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

I want to make some points about innovation and investment. We have heard Claudia Beamish

’s take on those issues already.

Scottish Sea Farms is trialling an innovative new device to convert wave energy to power—a green measure that I would have thought would have been worth mentioning by some in this place. The MANTA converter has been introduced on a farm in Shetland and it is hoped that it will produce enough electricity to power feeding systems, underwater lighting and acoustic predator deterrents, which will reduce the company’s reliance on diesel and, indeed, will do something about the predator issue as well. In Shetland, we do not expect to need any licences at all for seals this year, because of the work that the industry is doing and the investment that it is making. I wish that a few more members had mentioned that.

Many things are being invested in but have not been mentioned, although a number of members rightly mentioned the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, which does strong work in conjunction with the industry. The centre’s briefing for the debate points out that, in the first phase of funding, the centre

“turned its £5.4 million project spend into a total applied R&D investment programme of £39 million across Scotland, of which £14.2m has been direct industry contributions.”

That is the industry investing in exactly the kind of measures in relation to the environment and the future that are desperately needed.

The issue is not just about the direct jobs in the industry; it is about the indirect jobs that go with it. It is about the well boats and haulage companies. If people drive down the M74 and happen to look out on the right-hand side as they go past Larkhall, they will see a bunch of logistics centres, all of which employ people from constituencies in the central belt of Scotland who work supporting the salmon farming industry. The issue is not just about rural areas; it goes right across Scotland.

On sea lice—