Scottish salmon farmers praised for good practice –

Scottish salmon farmers praised for good practice Published:  12 February, 2007

SCOTTISH salmon farmers have been applauded by the independent Chairman of a management group set up to monitor the introduction of the aquaculture industry’s new code of practice.

Speaking today at the Ministerial Working Group on Aquaculture -which is chaired by the Deputy Minister for Environment and Rural Development, Sarah Boyack – Professor Phil Thomas told industry stakeholders and representatives of environmental groups that there has been a very good uptake and compliance with the new Code of Good Practice for Scottish Finfish Aquaculture from the salmon sector.

Commenting on the data gathered between March and December 2006, Professor Thomas said: “The evidence available so far suggests that the independently audited level of compliance in the salmon sector is high. Some 95% of the tonnage of Scottish salmon production has signed-up to the code, and the overall compliance amongst those who have made the commitment was almost 99%.”

As an example, Professor Thomas highlighted audits undertaken at 262 salmon sites, each covering up to 351 performance points, with an overall compliance rate of 98.6%. Where non-compliances were recorded he said these related mainly to record-keeping, some specific elements of which had been introduced for the first time under the code.

Professor Thomas described the code as probably the most comprehensive voluntary set of regulations ever introduced in a primary food production industry, and he praised the levels of commitment from industry. “It is evident that the larger businesses have engaged strongly with its principles. However, there remains a need for further engagement with small businesses which have still to register,” he said.

Welcoming the news, Sid Patten, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said: “I am extremely pleased that the commitment and compliance to a specified high level of good practice and environmental stewardship are so high, as I believe a robust and independently audited code is the most flexible and efficient means of achieving a sustainable salmon farming industry.”

During the meeting Patten also reported that the number of escaped farmed salmon has halved since statutory reporting began, falling from 310,000 in 2002 to 157,000 in 2006. He emphasised the industry’s performance on containment, noting that with the large majority of Scottish production signed-up to the principles of the code the improving trend could continue.

Patten pointed out that there were over 70 million smolts put to sea in the last two years, and although the 2006 escapes correspond to less than 1% of the total amount of fish, he said that they represent a significant commercial loss for the farmer.

The Code of Good Practice for Finfish Aquaculture was officially launched in March 2006. A list of the participating companies is available on is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.