Scottish MSP calls for fish farm expansion moratorium like Denmark

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“I am keen that the Scottish Government liaises with Danish counterparts to understand the rationale for this significant policy change by the Danish Government which is calling a halt to expansion of the sector and to establish what we can learn from that,’ said Green MSP John Finnie.

The Ross-Shire Journal reports that Green MSP John Finnie has called upon the Scottish Government to follow in the footsteps of Denmark and halt salmon farm expansions.

SalmonBusiness reported that Denmark’s Environment Minister Lea Wermelin announced that the country will now stop the creation of new facilities and expansion of existing ones – effectively putting major pressures on the country’s rainbow trout aquaculture production – which constitutes around 60% of Denmark’s aquaculture total.

Green MSP John Finnie tabled a Parliamentary Question asking the Scottish Government if it “will examine the example of the Danish Government which has announced it will not approve any new fish farms at sea and curb growth of existing fish farms at sea in Denmark due to environmental concerns”.

Mr Finnie said: “The Scottish Green Party recognises the valuable contribution fish farming can make to supplying food and the employment it can create in our fragile rural communities. I am a Member of the Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee which on November 27, 2018 published a report on Salmon Farming in Scotland which concluded the status quo was not an option.

No more fish farms, announced Danish government. Denmark’s Environment Minister Lea Wermelin. PHOTO: Government.dk

“Regrettably, other committee members didn’t support my call for the report to call for a moratorium on the expansion of the fish farm industry, pending resolution of the clearly narrated problems. I welcome the ongoing work taking place to improve the significant public concerns there are about the industry but we’re not there yet.

“Whilst I see a role for salmon fish farming in delivering a quality, locally reared food to our markets, my support is conditional on the highest standards of husbandry and environmental protection being applied. I am keen that the Scottish Government liaises with Danish counterparts to understand the rationale for this significant policy change by the Danish Government which is calling a halt to expansion of the sector and to establish what we can learn from that.

“I still firmly believe we should have a moratorium on expansion until we’ve absolute assurance on the areas giving rise to the committee’s concerns that ‘..the industry (also) creates a number of economic, environmental and social challenges for other businesses which rely on the natural environment’.