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Trade Associations – SSPO Comment

BY BY PROFESSOR PROFESSOR PHIL PHIL THOMAS THOMAS

Underpinning Here’s to provenance the future Do we think gives the Scotland mustenough not clingabout to thewhat political industry its edge inworld key markets? past in a post-Brexit

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unning andcally overcorrect the holiday t may not up be to politi to sayperiod so at three but particular caught my eye and present farmeditems Atlanti c salmon would me to reflect. notcaused have become Scotland’s leading food Thewithout first item ‘Exploring thepositi Con-ve export thewas Crown Estate’s cept of a Centre of Innovation Excellence for engagement with aquaculture development Scottish Aquaculture’, an independent scoping back in the 1980s. study Alan Sutherland, former MD of Marine Now,byaquaculture is a signifi cant part of the Harvest Scotland. agency’s marine leasing portfolio and is reguThiscelebrated report, published SAICEstate’s (the Scottish larly by the by Crown Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre), provided a Marine Aquaculture Awards event. This year’s highly significant statement of the Scottish inevent in Edinburgh on the 11 June was the dustry’s commitment to a long-term strategy of usual highly successful showcase for Scottish developmental research, based on ‘science into aquaculture and a rare opportunity for induspractice’ and a national investment in the retry to join together to mark its success. sources necessary to drive that process forward. The Crown Estate is presently at the centre Inevitably, there is a lot of work still to be done of further devolution discussions between the before the concepts expressed in the report can UK government and Scottish government. The be fully reflected in action on the ground. long-term future of key Scottish functions reHowever, the confidence and commitment set mains unclear and professional expertise could out in the document provided a strong insight be squandered in the process of organisational into the Scottish industry’s vision for the future change. and reflected a mature and highly encouraging Bothofthe Crown and Estate’s core expertise and sense direction purpose. the Marine Aquaculture Awards are imporScotland’s politicians and development agentant in maintaining the disti ncti ve coherence cies should take heed: Scotland needs strong of Scotland’s aquaculture and it would be a industrial growth sectors and aquaculture tragedy if to they casualties ofnational political continues be became a high public-return change. development opportunity. Thissecond year’s Awards wasreport hostedofby The item wasevent an early the triactress, writer and comedian Jo Caulfi eld,also an als being conducted by Scottish Sea Farms, inspired choice by whoever madeAquaculture, the booking. involving Grieg Seafood and Cooke She was thermolicer, very funny and entertaining and kept of a new introduced to Scotland in the proceedings going with a swing. Only once summer 2016. did she studies, stray, when she wondered what ‘proveThese which reflect the kind of innonancedevelopment actually meant’. vative highlighted in Sutherland’s In a room full of folk livelihoods report, are looking verywhose promising. The unit, which treats fish through a 30-second exposure 12 above sea temperature water, is reported with

18 SSPO.indd 12 Phil Thomas.indd 18

The slow “process

whereby the should EU We negotiates be organdeals isingwith our other training and tradingon educati blocks has provisions caused much widespread better frustration

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depend on the provenance of their products she quickly sensed an audience response and moved to safer comedic material: there are some things you just don’t joke about! However, her remark left me asking myself whether we think enough about the underpinning of the provenance of Scottish farmed fish – and for me that’s farmed salmon. There is no doubt that Scottish provenance is important to our industry – it gives us the edge in all our key markets. Provenance can be defined in various ways but most people will agree that it goes beyond the appearance and sensory qualities of the final product: flavour, texture, visual presentation and product consistency are always key factors in consumer appeal but provenance is about tomuch remove 95 to 98 per cent of sea lice and allow the treatment of about more. 40 It tonnes of per hour. reflects fish a wider concept of consumer quality assurance, including: No one should ever anticipate a magic bullet technology for dealing the place where the fish is grown and processed; the professional with sea lice. However, coupled with the new developments in cleaner integrity of the production and processing methods; and the quality, fish technology and other engineering solutions, such as freshwater hycommitment and care of the people involved – the professional skills, drolicer technology, the thermolicer looks to add significantly to the toolexpertise, passion and dedication of the producers themselves. box of sea lice treatments, and to support the industry’s drive towards In Scotland our ‘place of production’ gives us a huge natural advanbiological sea lice control. tage because we grow fish in the pristine coastal waters of some of The information on the trials released to date represents good news; the most beautiful and wild scenic areas of the world, and our brand is further publication of results from the trials in 2017 will be awaited with protected by its PGI status. considerable interest. Likewise, adoption of the Scottish Finfish Code of Good Practice The third and most high profile item was ‘Scotland’s Place in Europe’, allied with the industry’s deep commitment to a range of independent the much trumpeted Scottish government analysis of options following farm assurance programmes, RSPCA sh welfare the EU quality referendum. This document was including essentiallythe political infipurpose scheme, builds on the underlying strength of our statutory regulatory and it gained some justifiable praise for being the first such document systems to assure our producti on systems. produced by any tier of government in the UK. Disappointingly though, Finally,the thesharp skills,analysis expertiand se, passion and detail dedicati on of our farmers it lacked quantitative needed to contribute can be demonstrated in abundance day in and day out – and they were more than a punctuation mark in the ongoing Brexit debate. showcased by the recent awards event. Unfortunately, it also suggested a persisting Scottish government tendenHowever, being wholly objecti ve than and forward looking, it is the thisnew third cy to cling to the political past, rather moving on to address area of provenance where the Scotti sh industry has greatest scope circumstances and potential opportunities presented by the Brexit result.for systemati c development. is not say that skills It is stating the obvious to That say that thetopublic can our onlyindustry’s address the and professional experti se are not of the highest calibre, but it is to specific question asked in a referendum, and a majority of Scots were recognise our vocati onal educati onal than and training clearly savvythat enough to vote ‘remain’ rather ‘leave’ instructures, the EU and referendum. www.fishfarmer-magazine.com But now that the UK as a whole has voted to leave, the questions to be

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Fish Farmer Magazine january 2017  

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