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The Scottish Government's 'Economic Recovery Implementation Plan' (ERIP) has highlighted aquaculture as essential to the country's ability to recover from the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The plan was published at the start of August in response to a report from the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery that was lead by Benny Higgins, a Scottish financial expert who previously served as the CEO of Tesco Bank.

Setting out their responses to the report's recommendations the Scottish Government said:

"We also recognise the benefits of encouraging sustainable growth of Scottish aquaculture with due regard for the environment as a way of boosting economic prosperity, contributing to global challenges by delivering low carbon, nutritious animal protein and adding value to supply chains that support often highly skilled jobs and much needed investment in Rural Scotland.

"Scottish aquaculture is an essential component of our rural economy, supporting families and livelihoods in some of our most fragile communities.

"Along with its wider supply chain, aquaculture contributes £620 million GVA to the Scottish economy, supporting over 12,000 jobs."

It continues:

"For aquaculture, consideration of, and changes to, the regulatory framework involving key stakeholders – regulators, fish farmers and broader NGO interests – have been underway since the Rural Economy Committee report on the sector in late 2018.

"Further changes to improve those regulatory arrangements are expected soon, in relation to wellboat licensing and clarity of spatial planning for new fish farm developments based on the application of available evidence and continued enhancements in the scientific base through partnership working."

The full responses can be viewed here: Economic Recovery Implementation Plan: The Scottish Government's response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery

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