Scotland’s salmon farmers have unveiled an ambitious vision statement, placing sustainability at the heart of the industry’s future. The document, A Better Future For Us All, commits the industry to achieving net zero greenhouse gases (GHG) before 2045; to becoming 100 per cent reliable on renewable energy; and to working towards 100 per cent biodegradable/recyclable materials in packaging.
The document goes beyond environmental sustainability, however, committing the sector to achieving key targets in fish health and welfare, community support, diversity employment and maintaining the highest standards for the product itself, Scottish salmon.
Tavish Scott, the incoming chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, hailed the document as “momentous” and “ground breaking”.
Scott said: “We already have an incredibly good environmental story to tell with a low carbon footprint, low freshwater use and great feed conversion rates. But, by publishing this document today, we declare our commitment to go further and meet even more exacting standards in the years to come.”
He added: “We lead the world in many aspects of farming salmon. We also enjoy a well-deserved global reputation for producing the world’s best salmon. But this document shows our commitment to stay out in front, evolving the way we farm to make sure our environmental and sustainability credentials remain the best in the world.”
Among the key commitments set out in the paper are:
* Net zero in greenhouse gas emissions before 2045.
* Working towards being 100 per cent renewable energy users.
* 100 per cent of its fish feed ingredients obtained from sustainable sources, with full traceability of all ingredients.
* Working towards 100 per cent recyclable packaging.
* A “clear new focus” on qualifications, careers and a diverse workforce, to provide more high-quality jobs in rural areas.
* Improve pen structures to make sure all fish are prevented from escaping.
* Directing more money and resource into farming communities, and installing electric vehicle charging points which the public will be able to use.
* Establishing a “salmon experience” visitor centre.
* Working with local authorities to provide sustainable homes in rural communities.
* Working with government, regulators and other bodies to establish innovation sites to trial new technology.
Atholl Duncan, Chair of the SSPO, said: “Scotland’s recovery from the Covid pandemic has to be green, it has to be sustainable and it has to be led by successful global brands. This new vision for the Scottish salmon sector reflects our commitment to meet all those requirements. We can help harness the potential of the blue economy to drive forward the green recovery that Scotland wants to see.”
He added: “Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first commercially harvested farmed salmon in Scotland. This vision will take us forward into the next 50 years.”
A Better Future For Us All is available to download from the SSPO website