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As the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee finalises its report on salmon farming, critics of the industry have been out in force.
As a salmon farmer I feel it’s important to provide some perspective about an important business that employs thousands of people and grows a healthy food enjoyed by people all over the world.
Most recent news reports have focused on the challenges salmon farmers face growing fish.
The challenges are real, but they are the same no matter what food we grow: crop health, Mother Nature, parasites and predators are things all farmers must accept and overcome.
According to the National Farmers Union, about 80 per cent of Scotland’s land mass is used for agricultural production and is the ‘single biggest determinant of the landscape.’
In comparison salmon farming uses the sea to grow fish in their natural environment, providing about 40 per cent of our food export value but using less than 0.02 per cent of Scotland’s available coastline.
Because salmon farms take so little space to grow fish, many people will never have seen one – which is both good and bad.
Good, that it highlights fish farming’s very efficient food production model.
Bad because many people’s understanding of the industry is skewed by the views of critical protest groups rather than based on first hand experience.
I welcome visitors to my farms to learn more about the industry and see for themselves why Scottish salmon is one of the world’s most highly regarded foods.