SCOTLAND’S salmon farming sector continues to be hampered by planning rules dictated by environmental interests, said Grieg Seafood director Sigurd Pettersen.
The Scottish government is wrong in making the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) the regulator of fish farming because its brief is to protect the environment, Pettersen told the Herald.
‘Farming of any kind has some impact on the environment,’ he said but regulatory bodies need to accommodate economic interests with environmental ones.
SEPA, Pettersen told the Herald, has no brief or framework that allows it to balance economic benefits against environmental impact. So any environmental impact is considered ‘bad’ and plans for new farm sites get rejected repeatedly on environmental grounds.
‘We have tried again and again to find additional sites on the west coast of Scotland and we have had our applications rejected time after time.
‘When my friends in Scandinavia ask me if Scotland is a good place for them to consider investing in, I have to tell them no, not under current circumstances,’ he said.
The issue will not be solved until Scottish politicians realise that the sector has a problem that requires a political solution.