Regulators don't have teeth & budget to control fish farm industry
Mark Ruskell MSP, Environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (15 Nov) challenged the Scottish Government's environmental regulator for relying on data from the fish farming industry that it is trying to regulate.
At the weekend it was reported that the number of fish farms rated as poor by SEPA has risen from 42 to 58.
In evidence to today's meeting of Holyrood's environment committee, SEPA admitted that their budgets have been cut, forcing them to reduce their attention on potential polluters using what they call a risk-based approach.
Asked if they had their own research budget to look at the environmental impacts of the expanding fish farming industry, SEPA bosses said no.
Mark Ruskell MSP said:
"There are growing concerns that fish farming is harming our environment, with reports of toxic algal blooms off the west coast. Given the rapid expansion of this industry, it's simply unacceptable that our environmental regulator has no independent research budget to examine its impact and has had to reduce its own laboratories from eight to two.
"The Scottish Government want to double the size of the salmon farming industry but are not prepared to fund independent research and regulation to protect the environment that our coastal communities rely on. We need independent regulators with the teeth and budget to control an industry which is failing to self-police on issues from marine pollution to animal welfare and seal culling. I will continue to press Scottish Ministers to address this issue."