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08/09/13 11:14

Aquaculture ties with Norway strengthened

Work taken forward following successful Ministerial visit.

The aquaculture sectors in both Norway and Scotland are set to benefit from greater sharing of information and regular bilateral meetings between their Governments.

Following a recent trip to Norway by Scotland’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse to AquaNor - where he met with the Norwegian Deputy Fisheries Minister - agreement has now been reached to enhance joint working and information sharing under the Scotland-Norway Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on aquaculture.

This closer working will help bring both countries up-to-date with current industry developments, and help enable the further sustainable growth of Scottish salmon farming to achieve the industry’s target of 210,000 tonnes of sustainable production by 2020.

Arrangements will be underpinned by regular bilateral meetings between Ministers and their officials, further strengthening the ties between the two countries.

Norwegian officials have also accepted an invitation to attend Ministerial group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA) in Scotland this November to update the group on Norway’s plans for aquaculture, including changes to the granting of new licenses to incorporate community benefit through social licensing; and to provide an update on their consultation on wellboats.

During the visit to Norway Mr Wheelhouse also spent time on a Norwegian fish farm seeing first-hand the latest Norwegian production techniques including the use of wrasse as cleanerfish to tackle the issue of sea lice and enhanced equipment to improve containment and reduce escapes.

Overall, the refreshed MoU arrangements and practical lessons learned from the visit will help shape the future blueprint of the industry in Scotland, enabling the further sustainable growth of Scottish aquaculture with due regard for the wider marine environment.

Mr Wheelhouse said:

“I am delighted that following a successful meeting last month, we are able to outline the work we are taking forward to strengthen our partnership on aquaculture with the Norwegian Government. This is really good news for the future sustainable growth and development of Scotland’s flourishing aquaculture sector which is worth over £1/2 billion to our economy annually.

“Fish farm production in Scotland continues to rise sustainably and that growth is forecast to continue in the years to come, which is great news for our future economic position. The aquaculture sector is playing an increasingly big role in helping to underpin sustainable economic growth, particularly in our rural and coastal communities where the employment is very much valued.

“The recently passed Aquaculture and Fisheries Act will help ensure the effective management of farmed and wild fisheries to maximise their combined contribution to the growth of the sector with due regard to the wider marine environment. And the Scottish Government believe we now have the regulatory framework in place to help support the further growth of a sustainable and world-leading industry.

“With Scottish salmon being globally recognised as a premium product and in high demand from the best hotels, retailers and restaurants across the world, we must continue to look at ways of sustainably growing the sector further in the longer-term to capitalise fully on that demand.

“Norway have been forging the way ahead on fish farming growth for a number of years now and it makes sense that in continuing our journey we learn from their journey - both the successes they have had and the challenges they have faced and overcome. That is why this joint work is so important.”

Notes to editors

The MoU will be re-invigorated by agreeing work streams around:

  • Preventing serious diseases
  • Tackling sea lice – use of cleaner fish
  • Improving containment to reduce escapes including technical standards for fish farm equipment
  • Regulating wellboats to minimise risk
  • Co-ordinating and sharing research to move the industry forward
  • Funding and charging
  • Understanding the industry and the marketplace including funding and charging to ensure a level playing field and optimal business confidence
  • Community Benefits
  • EU and other international relationships

The first bilateral meeting will be held in Norway in May next year.

The Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture encourages vital collaborative work among Scottish Government, regulators, stakeholders and scientists to further improve industry standards and to manage the interactions between farmed and wild fisheries.

Wellboats are used to store fish while they are transported from fish farms to processors.