UK minister says ‘more to do’ in salmon aquaculture

Lord Benyon, Minister of State for Climate, Environment and Energy

UK government minister Lord Benyon has praised the salmon sector’s contribution to the national economy, but he also warned that the industry has more to do if it is to address its critics.

Lord Benyon, Minister of State for Climate, Environment and Energy, a joint post with both the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), was opening the Blue Food Innovation Summit in London yesterday.

He noted the scale and importance of the salmon industry, which accounts for £761m gross value added, £1.2bn in revenue and around 4,000 jobs. He also, however, acknowledged problems with the sector, including sea lice, recent high levels of mortality and use of antibiotics.

Lord Benyon said: “The salmon sector is already investing in technical solutions But more needs to be done. I’m proud to see the UK leading the way in sustainable salmon farming.”

He added that Defra has funded research projects to help tackle sea lice.

The Minister also said that Brexit had changed the policy framework for the UK, with flexibility to set national priorities including protecting the marine environment and the sustainability of fisheries.

Fisheries Act 2020, for example, sets out climate change, sustainability and marine ecosystems as key issues for fisheries policy.

He also referred to the potential for expanding the seaweed industry and said that Defra has been working with the Marine Management Organisation to improve the licensing process.

Lord Benyon concluded: “We are rightly proud of the sustainable and traceable seafood that is produced around our coast.”

The Blue Food Innovation Summit, which is taking place in London over 21-22 May, brings together producers, innovators, policymakers and financiers to share insights into the potential for sustainable, marine-based food production.

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