Salmon farm applications in Scotland face delays of as long as 8 months

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Regulations dictate that salmon farms applications in Scotland should be processed within 11.5 months but an independent review shows many have had to wait an additional 8 months.

The Scottish Government initiated the independent review into the regulation of fish farms last year to find out what improvements can be made in various aspects of aquaculture legislation.

It found that 71 percent of planning applications for farms were not approved on time.

Salmon farmers dealing with Marine Scotland, the agency managing Scotland’s seas and freshwater fisheries, faced even longer waits. As much as 88 percent of applications were processed beyond the statutory deadline of 350 days (11.5 months), reported The Times.

“The worst example in the past three years was the Chalmers Hope application from Cooke which took 761 days,” said Russel Griggs, author of the review.

The findings underscore  “the pressing need for a more streamlined and efficient system that encourages sustainable growth of Scotland’s most important food export,” he told the publication.

The increase in application fees this past April brings along with it some expectation that performance of agencies involved with processing salmon farm applications will improve. The last time fees were increased was in 2014.

“Early signs show that some authorities have used this additional funding to recruit staff, meaning we can expect to start seeing improvements,” Griggs was quoted as saying.

Scotland is the third largest salmon producer worldwide, generating 192,129 tonnes in 2020. The Scottish industry supports 12,000 jobs.