The Scottish government has launched a '10-Year Farmed Fish Health Framework' which sets out measures to support sustainable growth across the Scottish fish farming sector. 

The scheme aims to “ensure that fish health remains the focus of sustainable production and growth in Scotland”. It also wants to ensure ‘the right people, organisations and resources come together to address new and developing challenges efficiently’. 

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has welcomed the new framework.

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Chief Executive of SSPO, said this is “the result of industry, Government and regulator collaboration to set out the way ahead to ensure that farmed fish health achieves and maintains the very high standards that we aspire to in Scotland”.

She continued: “The Framework recognises the valuable work that industry is already undertaking, sets out actions to be put in place, but importantly, looks ahead so that the industry and its stakeholders develop more open and transparent communication and understanding so that salmon farming can progress sustainably and successfully.”

The scheme looks to the long-term and plans to focus on seven key areas: 

  1. Information flow and transparency
  2. Gill health
  3. Sea lice
  4. Cleaner fish
  5. Production cycle and on-farm management
  6. Licensing regime and medicine use
  7. Climate change and ocean acidification

The Farmed Fish Health Working Group is co-chaired by Ben Hadfield, MD of Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd and Professor Colin Moffat, Head of Science at Marine Scotland.

The group will be tasked to produce an annual update to the Scottish government and the Scottish Parliament against progress made. The group will also identify appropriate vehicles and opportunities for the publication and sharing of best-practice that emerges as a result.

In 2017, the Scottish government committed to developing a strategic farmed fish health framework for Scotland, recognising that such an initiative was an essential component part for the consideration of the work of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group and the industry 2030 strategy.