Bu chòir co-dhiù cothrom a thoirt do ghnìomhachas a’ bhradain, le Murray MacLeoid

Bha e inntinneach mar a chuir a’ bhuidheann, Bradan na h-Alba, fios air an dithis a tha a’ strì airson ceannardas a’ Phàrtaidh Thòraidheach, ag iarraidh taic dha gnìomhachas a tha air leth cudromach do mhòran choimhearsnachdan iomallach ann an Alba.

Tha an gnìomhachas a' cumail taic ri 12,000 cosnadh, glè thric anns na coimhearsnachdan iomallach.
Tha an gnìomhachas a' cumail taic ri 12,000 cosnadh, glè thric anns na coimhearsnachdan iomallach.

[English-language version below]

Tron roinn air fad, tha duilgheadas aca luchd-obrach fhàstadh agus iad cuideachd a’ faicinn trioblaid le bhith a’ cur stuth a-nall dhan Roinn Eòrpa, dà rud a tha gu mòr ceangailte ri bùrach Brexit.

A thaobh Alba a bhith a’ reic stuth bidhe ri dùthchannan eile, ‘s e bradan an roinn as motha, a’ cur taic ri 12,000 cosnadh, a’ mhòr chuid, ann an sgìrean far nach eil mòran chothroman obrach eile.

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Ach, a’ fàgail dhuilgheadasan Brexit gu aon taobh, tha cuideachd trioblaid eile ann, agus ‘s e sin, an cliù a tha aig a’ ghnìomhachas a thaobh na h-àrainneachd.

‘S dòcha gum biodh e iomchaidh a dhol air ais ann an eachdraidh beagan. Nuair a bhathas a’ bruidhinn an toiseach mun ghnìomhachas a stèidheachadh ann an Alba, ‘s e bha anns an amharc ach gum biodh e mar rud a bhiodh freagarrach dha croitearan, le dà cheidse can anns a’ mhuir aig bonn na croite, caran mar leudachadh air an obair a tha a’ tachairt air tìr.

Cha robh sin a-riamh a’ dol a thighinn gu buil agus an-diugh, ‘s ann a tha an gnìomhachas ann an làmhan companaidhean mòra Nirribheach agus iad a’ faighinn an làn thaic bhon riaghaltas aca fhèin.

Tha seo cudromach bhon nam biodh cùisean air obrachadh a-mach nas coltaichte ris mar a bhatar an dùil, no co-dhiù gum biodh companaidhean Albannach os cionn ghnothaichean, dh’fhaodadh barrachd earbsa a bhith ann gun tigeadh dèiligeadh nas fheàrr ri cèistean mòra na h-àrainneachd.

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Tha obair mhòr ri dheànamh a-thaobh atharrachadh na sìde, le Murray MacLeòid

Tha cuid a tha airson tuathanasan èisg a chasg gu tur, ‘s iad dhen bheachd nach bu chòir àite idir a bhith aca ann an àrainneachd chugalach na mara.

Ach, a’ cheart cho cinnteach ‘s nach robh na dòchasan a bha ma choinneimh a’ ghnìomhachais an toiseach a’ dol a thighinn beò, tha a’ cheart cho cinnteach nach tig cùlaibh a chur ri rud a tha a’ cumail cosnadh ri 12,000 ann an sgìrean iomallach na h-Alba.

Fhuair an fheadhainn as raige briseadh-dùil nuair a’ cho-dhùin rannsachadh nach robh e idir soilleir gur e tuathanasan-èisg a bu choireach ri crìonadh anns an stoc fhiadhaich, gun robh e na bu dhualtaiche gur e rudan eile a bu choireach, mar a’ mhuir a’ blàthachadh.

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Chan eil sin ri ràdh nach eil coire idir air a’ ghnìomhachas. Tha na mialan mara agus iasg a tha a’ briseadh a-mach à ceidsichean a’ dèanamh cron, a thaobh a bhith a’ sgapadh thinneasan agus a’ lagachadh gnè a’ bhradain fhiadhaich.

Tha Bradan na h-Alba ag aithneachadh gu bheil obair ri dhèanamh. Tha iad air gabhail ri, mar eimispleir, ath-nuadhachadh air siosam a’ phlanaidh, a tha an-dràsta ann an làmhan ùghdarrasan ionadail, a’ fàgail mì-chinnt agus ùine fhada mus tigear gu co-dhùnaidhean.

Tha Riaghaltas na h-Alba ag iarraidh an gnìomhachas a leasachadh mar tè dhe na prìomh roinnean ann am margaidh a’ bhidhe. Ach, bha sin mus do dh’fhosgail iad an doras dha na h-Uainich, a tha gu mòr na aghaidh.

Mar sin, tha duilgheadasan mòra aig a’ ghnìomhachas agus mì-chinnt. Ach, bu chòir co-dhiù an cothrom a thoirt dhaibh a bhith soirbheachail. Tha mòran sgìrean iomallach a bhiodh ann an droch shuidheachadh mas e a' chaochladh a thachras.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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English-language version:

The appeal by the trade body Salmon Scotland on behalf of the industry to the two Tory leadership candidates helped bring into focus the challenges that a sector of crucial importance to rural parts of the country is currently facing.

Right through the industry chain there is a recruitment crisis (though they are far from alone in that; hospitality, for example, could make similar pleas), but they are also seeing real difficulties in terms of exports to the European continent, two problems directly caused by the Brexit fallout.

Farmed salmon represents Scotland’s biggest food export, supporting 12,000 jobs which are, crucially, in many of the more rural parts of the country where employment opportunities are scarce. So it’s important on all sorts of levels.

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But, leaving aside the Brexit-inspired headaches, the sector is also facing another mounting difficulty in the shape of its environmental credentials – or as critics would have it, the complete absence thereof.

At this point it’s probably worth delving into history a little. When the potential of fish farming first emerged back in the 1970s the vision was that it would develop along the lines of a kind of cottage industry in the Highlands and Islands, with a couple of cages at the bottom of each croft.

That was probably always a pipe dream, which has been borne out by events. Today the industry in Scotland is largely owned by Norwegian multi-nationals who, thanks to the unstinting backing of their own government, are the dominant global players.

This matters because had the industry developed more along the lines of what was originally envisaged, or at least maintained some Scottish ownership and a sense of local control, it may have inspired a little more confidence in dealing with the environmental issues that are now playing out, and which threaten to severely curtail future expansion.

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There are those who simply wish salmon farming to disappear, who believe it has no place in a fragile marine ecosystem. But just as the early dreams of the fish farming pioneers were unrealistic, so, too, is the thought of dismissing 12,000 jobs across rural communities.

The more ardent of the anti-fish farming lobby were left disappointed when a major Scottish Government study concluded that there was no proof that it was to blame for the decline in wild stocks; that it was probably much more to do with wider environmental factors such as rising sea temperatures.

But, that’s not to say that the industry enjoys a clean bill of health. Sea lice and escapees have a real detrimental effect on wild salmon, both in terms of spreading disease and weakening the genetic pool.

The industry and Salmon Scotland recognise there is work to do, both in the most practical sense and in dealing with some of the perception that’s out there. They have warmly embraced, for example, a wide-ranging review of the planning system, which neither suits the industry nor environmental campaigners as it currently sits within the responsibility of different local authorities, ensuring a piecemeal approach, lack of consistency and a protracted decision-making process.

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The Scottish Government have set their stall out to develop the industry as one of the key parts of the food and drink sector, though admittedly that was before hopping into bed with the Scottish Greens, who are openly hostile.

So the industry faces major challenges and uncertainty and has work to do to get its own house in order. But for the sake of rural communities across the west coast of the Highlands and the islands, it at least deserves the chance to succeed.

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