Landsburgh: volume, licensing to rise after slow 2017

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After a slow 2017, Scottish salmon producers are poised for a rebound under a new regulatory regime still in the works

Just one salmon-farming license was issued in Scotland in 2017, a year that saw a number of biological issues surface just in time to stimulate new regulations still being worked out.

“It’s just circumstances and the number of projects in the pipeline and how they work their way through the system,” Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organization, told SalmonBusiness on Wednesday. He said despite the low number of license awards, there was “a head of steam now in industry” and “government is behind the development of the industry”.

“We’ll see more coming through the pipeline this year. Obviously there have been knockbacks at certain locations,” said Landsburgh, who’s retiring at the end of March 2018.

He said he was confident that there will be more licensing and more production as a result of the new modelling arrangement for aquaculture sites agreed between the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Scotland’s five or six top growers.

“Potentially, with all the regulation coming in, it’ll be an opportunity to expand significantly, perhaps by 20 to 25 percent, with the new-model optimized site,” he said, adding, “It could bring significant increases.”

“We anticipate that we’ll be able to increase existing biomass by some pretty good margins,” he added.

The Scottish Salmon Company was the lone recipient of a license award for salmon production last year. Its lone permit marked a sharp drop from the six awarded in 2016 and a far cry from the heyday of permit allocations in 2015 and earlier.

Scottish Salmon will produce 2,192 tonnes of biomass at the newly licensed site, a number consistent with its other Sound of Raamsay growouts off Martaig Burn near the town of Portree. SEPA will allow the company the use of four different bio-treatments against sea lice.