Leader comment: Scottish salmon is brand that needs highest standards

A wild salmon leaps upstream in the Ettrick Water, a tributary of the Tweed (Picture: Phil Wilkinson)
A wild salmon leaps upstream in the Ettrick Water, a tributary of the Tweed (Picture: Phil Wilkinson)
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The fish farms that produce Scotland’s Atlantic salmon now make up a £1 billion industry – welcome news at a time when this country’s anaemic economy needs all the help it can get.

According to the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey, almost 190,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon were produced in 2017, an increase of more than 16 per cent on the previous year and 37 per cent in terms of value. That’s a significant achievement and one to be celebrated.

The cachet of “Scottish salmon” originated from the wild fish caught in our rivers, with high prices paid by wealthy gourmets in London for the first one out of the Tay, for example. It is vital to ensure that badge of quality is maintained.

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The industry has invested millions in improved farming techniques, such as the use of cleaner fish to remove sea lice. However, anti-fish farm campaigners have highlighted problems with the living conditions of the fish and the farms’ environmental impact.

If Scotland is to remain famous for its salmon and not rest of ageing laurels, it needs to ensure the highest standards.

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