SSPO calls proposals on Scottish salmon feed limits “draconian”

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Consultation ends as Scotland’s environmental regulators SEPA looks to site-specific limits on the quantity of feed.

In October, SEPA proposed a consultation on the use of biomass or feed to regulate the organic output from marine pen fish farming.

It considered whether moving to use a feed limit or retaining a biomass limit in the permit to see what the most effective parameter to use to regulate the scale of impact from fish farms.

Punitive measures. TABLE: SEPA

“We proposed using site-specific limits on the quantity of feed that could be fed to farmed fish over a period of time as a means of controlling the quantity of organic wastes discharged. This would have represented a move from our existing regulatory controls which limit the quantity of organic wastes discharged by setting site-specific limits on the maximum weight of fish (biomass) that can be held on a farm at any one time,” it wrote.

The consultation closed on 17 Jan 2020 after it talked to feed manufacturers, suppliers, salmon farmers, coastal community groups and NGOs.

SSPO Sustainability Director Anne Anderson told SalmonBusiness: “During the consultation period SSPO has had constructive meetings with SEPA. While farmers have been willing to understand how they can better help SEPA through joint working, they have also been clear that there is no environmental justification for such a draconian proposal and the potentially serious consequences it could bring. We look forward to a swift conclusion which removes the uncertainty around this issue.”

A spokesperson for SEPA told SalmonBusiness: “SEPA’s recent technical consultation on the use of biomass or feed to regulate the organic output from marine pen fish farming to the environment has now closed.

“We are committed to listening and to getting this right, and during the consultation period, held information events with feed manufacturers/suppliers, fish producers, coastal community groups and environmental NGOs. A total of 29 written responses were received.
“Work to analyse all of the responses is now underway. We expect to reach a decision in two to three months, once we have fully considered the information provided. This will be shared on the We Asked, You Said, We Did section of SEPA’s consultation hub.”