Salmon farming finds favour in Holyrood

The REC inquiry into salmon farming in 2018 - commitee members now mostly support the sector

A POLL of Scottish MSPs has found that attitudes towards the Scottish salmon farming sector have improved in the past year.

Some 73 per cent of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee – which carried out an investigation into salmon farming in 2018 – now view the salmon farming sector favourably.

And the number of MSPs with a favourable opinion of salmon farming has gone up to 43 per cent, from 34 per cent in 2018, with those viewing it unfavourably falling from 25 per cent to 20 per cent.

The poll, conducted by PA Advocacy in December, also showed that more than half of MSPs (56 per cent) say they know a fair amount, or more than before, about salmon farming, up from 48 per cent this time last year.

In particular, MSPs representing the Highlands and islands, where most salmon farms are located, said they have knowledge of salmon farming.

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), which commissioned the poll along with other organisations, has boosted its influence with MSPs – 45 per cent of those questioned said they were satisfied with the contact with the organisation during the past year,  up from 32 per cent in 2018.

MSPs are likely to suggest that information about fish welfare and the environment could improve confidence in the sector, the SSPO said in a press release today.

Hamish Macdonell, director of Strategic Engagement at the SSPO, said: ‘The Scottish salmon sector has always had a good relationship with MSPs in our farming areas but it is good to see that more and more politicians – from right across the country – are gaining a better understanding of who we are and what we do.

‘This can only encourage support for the UK’s leading food export and one of Scotland’s major farming success stories.’