What a year! conﬁdence in our products. The controls and status of our market and supply chains should also give investors conﬁdence in our ‘green’ and ethical sector. What is daunting to those from outside the industry is the wait to see returns and the perceived risks of leaving all your investment hanging on a piece of rope unguarded in the sea. We have to become more eﬀective at explaining our industry to the private sector. The public sector has understood for a long time that it means jobs in the rural economy and increasingly in supply, distribution and processing sectors. Other investors either don’t have us on the radar as a business opportunity or perceive a risk proﬁle which exceeds other, safer places to make money. The shellﬁsh summit was a good venue to better explain the workings of our industry and we were able to present the development message to both the minister and representatives of the Scottish Investment Bank. What we will now be undertaking is a follow up meeting with those high street banks which have an interest in listening. Vision 2030 In line with the wider development opportunities for aquaculture recognised by the Scottish government, the industry has launched an ambitious growth strategy. This is not just from a producer’s perspective, but recognises the important role to play of all the associated support industries and the infrastructure requirements. The headline grabbing theme is the desire to see what is currently a £1.8 billion industry of salmon, trout and shellﬁsh double its value by 2030. Obviously, we are a small but none the less signiﬁcant part of this ﬁgure and through reviews already undertaken we are well on the way to achieving a shellﬁsh output target of 13,000 tonnes by 2020. The Vision 2030 report has recommendations covering six themes of industry leadership, regulation, innovation, skills, investment and infrastructure.
The most prominent recommendation, and one which has already been adopted by the minister, is for the creation of a new Industry Leadership Group (ILG) to drive alignment between industry and government in order to deliver growth. Industry Leadership Groups already exist for other sectors and so the process is formalised and seen to be an eﬀective way of operating. From our own viewpoint, the success of this initiative should see a greater alignment of government agencies and the roles of bodies such as Marine Scotland, SEPA, FSS and SNH, with the objective of enabling rather than disabling sustainable growth for the beneﬁt of Scotland plc and the rural economy. The question This brings me neatly back to the question of whether we will or, in fact, can currently export Scottish shellﬁsh to the US. If so, what are the export requirements of the US Food and Drugs Administration or indeed other administrations around the world? Currently, it appears that not one body within the UK can answer this question for us! If we want to develop our sector we need to be far smarter at developing our trading links and ensure our regulatory controls are ﬁt for purpose. Changes afoot One institution which has supported our industry from its inception has been the Crown Estate. As it is responsible for granting and agreeing lease conditions, development of the devolution of powers in Scotland is of direct interest and commercial signiﬁcance to growers. The formation of an interim body to manage the assets of the Crown Estate in Scotland has recently taken a step forward with the appointment of an interim chair. Next year should see a review of our rents, which has previously been undertaken on a ﬁve-yearly basis. This process has been fair and transparent, with wider economic factors taken into account in the setting of lease rates. It is reassuring to know that the primary principle established by Scottish government for the transfer process is continuity and stability, with existing staﬀ and resources transferred to the new interim body. We will obviously be keen to continue working with the new Crown Estate Interim Body which takes over control of the management of the Scottish assets in April 2017. There will be a further consultation on how the assets of the Crown will be managed in Scotland in the longer term. It will be important that shellﬁsh businesses respond to this as it will form part of the future of our sector. Nick Lake is CEO of the Association of Scottish Shellﬁsh Growers. FF
enough time assuring potential investors of the professional status of the industry
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