Most people who live near salmon farming areas in Scotland have a favourable view of the industry, an opinion poll has found.
The survey was carried out by independent polling company Ipsos Mori for Salmon Scotland, and was based on responses from adult residents in Argyll and Bute, north-west Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles.
It revealed that 54% per cent of those with “at least some” knowledge of the sector were “favourable” towards it – well over twice the number who were unfavourable (23 per cent).
In all five areas where salmon farms are based, favourability was higher than opposition.
Four in five of those polled (83%) said they knew at least a little about the sector, including 42% who said they knew a great deal or a fair amount.
The survey also found that 53% of those polled supported salmon farms being located in their local area, with just 17% being against.
Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “This poll shows that most people living near salmon farms in rural Scotland are supportive of salmon farming and appreciate the jobs this provides.
“The sector supports around 10,000 jobs across Scotland and provides a highly nutritious food both at home and around the world, produced to the highest environmental and sustainability standards.
“We conducted this independent research among our neighbours as it’s important that we listen to local communities, and this confirms that local people are supportive of salmon farming.
“Salmon farmers work hard to earn and keep the trust of the local communities they live and work in.
“I’m confident that the farm-raised salmon sector will continue to grow responsibly and sustainably in the regions we operate in in Scotland, providing vital jobs for the local economy.”
Commenting on the findings, Colin Blair, Managing Director of Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, said: “Cooke Aquaculture Scotland’s seawater sites are located exclusively in Orkney and Shetland and we are one of the Northern Isles’ largest employers. As a responsible salmon farmer we work hard to create long-term, well-paid coastal jobs and share prosperity in the island communities we live and work in.”