SSPO reacts to SNP-Green deal

Tavish Scott

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation has cautiously welcomed the joint policy programme published as part of the SNP/Scottish Greens power-sharing agreement. The SSPO says the programme is “a constructive starting point”.

Following the Scottish parliamentary elections earlier this year, the SNP is the largest party in Holyrood, but its numbers are short of an outright majority. The deal announced on Friday, after weeks of negotiations, means the Scottish Greens will support the SNP Government on all but a specified range of issues, and the Greens will also have two junior ministerial posts.

A shared policy platform for the two parties was also published on Friday, which includes statements on aquaculture and marine conservation. As well as stating that “The Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party believe that Scotland should have a sustainable, diverse, competitive and economically viable aquaculture industry”, the document also promises greater environmental protection including the introduction of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) for at least 10% of Scottish waters.

In the run up to the election some Green spokespeople had been critical of the fish farming sector, some even calling for an end to open net-pen farming in Scotland, while the SNP has been broadly supportive.

Speaking on Friday, Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: “Scotland’s salmon farming sector has always recognised the need for a good working relationship with SNP government ministers who, in turn, have acknowledged the important role we play not only in island and rural communities but right across Scotland.

“We hope the strong and supportive partnership we have with government will continue during this parliamentary session, whatever the makeup of the ministerial team.

“It is essential that everyone in government understands our sector. That is why we now hope to begin constructive discussions with all Green MSPs, in the same way as we already work with MSPs from other parties.”

“There are parts of today’s agreement on which we seek further information. But for aquaculture this can be a constructive starting point.”