United Kingdom News
Scotland could scrap biomass limits BIOMASS limits on Scottish fish farms could be scrapped if proposals by Sepa (the Scottish Environment Protection Agency) are approved. Sepa is due to launch a public consultation in the next few weeks on how it regulates fish farming, according to a recent submission the agency made to the Scottish parliament. This will include plans to drop biomass limits.
Above: Permission to grow
The proposals follow the launch of the industry’s vision for growth late last year, which would
see the country’s aquaculture sector double production by 2030 and increase its value to
New test to detect costly salmon disease SCIENTISTS from the University of Glasgow have discovered a simple test to aid the diagnosis of a significant salmon disease. Working with industry partners BioMar and Marine Harvest Scotland, the group has shown that a simple measurement procedure could be used to detect Atlantic salmon infected with salmonid
alpha virus, which causes pancreas disease. Pancreas disease can cause significant losses in farmed Atlantic salmon due to morbidity, mortality and reduced production. The researchers, who published their findings in a study in the Journal of Fish Diseases, found that salmon with pancreas disease had a major change in the proteins present in the blood, and that these protein
Above: Atlantic salmon
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changes could be detected using a simple procedure. The test, called a selective precipitation reaction (SPR), has been patented by the team and could potentially be developed into a rapid analysis system allowing the disease to be diagnosed much earlier at fish farms. Current testing requires samples being sent to laboratories. Professor David Eckersall, Professor of Veterinary Biochemistry and leader of the research team, said: ‘The serendipitous discovery of the SPR has allowed a potentially powerful diagnostic test to be developed that could have significant applications in the future.’
the Scottish economy from around £1.8 billion to £3.6 billion. The plan – published in the Vision 2030 report in October - was backed by the Scottish government, which promised to set up an ‘industry leadership group’. Sepa said the aim
was to ensure that ‘the regulatory framework more closely matches the growth agenda pursued by the industry by removing imposition of a limit on biomass’. This would enable operators ‘to increase biomass where environmental monitoring demon-
strates that the location is able to cope’, and it would put responsibility for day-to-day management of sites into the hands of ‘responsible fish farmers’. Environmental campaigners, however, say the move would increase disease, worsen pollution and harm wild fish.
Support for young rugby talent A LEADING Scottish ﬁsh farmer is helping to fund a new rugby youth academy on the west coast, reported the Oban Times. The £2,000 cash grant from Scottish Sea Farms will help to keep young players engaged with the sport from their late teens to early twenties. The new academy is being established by Oban Lorne RFC to create a link between players leaving high school and starting to play senior rugby. This is a period when many talented players often lose contact with the sport. The Scottish Sea Farms Heart of the Community funding will help to provide specialised coaching sessions, strength and conditioning programmes, cover
some travel costs and assist with new kit and equipment. Jonathan Sayer, an environmental scientist with Scottish Sea Farms, based at South Shian, has been involved with the Oban Lorne RFC - a community club run by volunteers - as fundraising convener and said: ‘This will really help young people stay active and involved with the sport of rugby and means we will have an increase in young players entering the senior squads.’ Murray Hamilton, youth convener of Oban Lorne and PE teacher at Oban High school, said: ‘The idea behind the academy would not just be for students who leave school; we would also like to tackle the drop-off in players from 15 to 21.’
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