1st October 2016
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Crown Estate income should be invested in NAFC, says Scott

The Crown Estate’s income from the seabed around Shetland should be re-invested in the NAFC Marine Centre, Shetland MSP Tavish Scott believes.

Speaking at a salmon farming seminar in Lerwick he pressed for the immediate devolution of the seabed powers to Shetland.

The income, running into millions of pounds, should be invested  for research and support for Shetland’s marine industries, Mr Scott suggested.

He said the Scotland Bill, currently being debated in Westminster, was set to devolve control and income form the seabed to the Scottish government.

He had secured cross party agreement in the Smith Commission to give those powers to Shetland and other island groups who wanted them. The Scottish government was still to fully endorse that approach.

Mr Scott said: “We need to see greater investment to realise the benefits of salmon farming research in Shetland.

“So when the Crown Estate seabed is devolved not just to the Scottish government but to Shetland as I have argued all my political life, there is a notable opportunity.

“The seabed creates income. The salmon farming industry is that income. So I suggest the seabed income should be reinvested in research for the industry at the marine centre.

“The NAFC was built and developed for Shetland’s marine industries. These are challenging times for the public finances. So a new income stream should assist the salmon farming industry in the research it needs.”

Mr Scott said Shetland salmon production was 40,000 tonnes per annum. The industry turnover was £150 million – half the overall seafood value of Shetland.

A total of 270 jobs were directly on farms and 180 in packaging and primary processing, while 1,050 people depended on a healthy and productive salmon industry for their jobs.

Mr Scott added: “Salmon farming matters hugely to Shetland. The Scottish government expects the industry to grow up 50 per cent to produce 220,000 tonnes by 2020.

“That is a tall order when government choses with the other hand, to impose tighter regulation and laws on production.

“So the industry needs to see some recognition of these challenges. A positive step would be to help with the research needs and the seabed income could help.”

AboutJim Tait

Jim Tait is news editor at The Shetland Times.

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4 comments

  1. John Tulloch

    Wir Shetland strongly supports the Smith Commission recommendation that control of the Crown Estates seabed should be devolved, in turn, from the Scottish government to Shetland and Mr Scott’s suggestion that the associated income be used to sponsor marine research at NAFC Marine Centre has much to commend it.

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      As ever John, your gratitude for crumbs from the masters table never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps one day you’ll see the bigger picture?

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        What I see, Robin, is the Scottish government dragging its heels in response to a Smith Commission recommendation that is what, more than a year old, now?

        It’s not at all complex, it’s a simple question Mr Scott has prompted and one which needs to be answered:

        “Will the Scottish government reliquish control of the Crown Estates seabed to Shetland?”

      • Robin Stevenson

        As I’m sure you’re aware, we have to wait to find out whether or not the Smith proposals will be accepted John, If they are to the detriment of Scotland then they’ll be rejected, simple as that.

        You say the SG are “dragging their heels”, therefore I can only imagine that you feel they shouldn’t bother with discussions and accept whatever pittance is on offer?
        So you don’t mind Scotland receiving a percentage of a lever of power but now you’re asking “when are they going to implement it”? On top of that, you and Tavish have the cheek to demand guarantees of a power that Scotland would never have been offered had we not had a referendum in which both you and Tavish were entirely against?

        Jeez, and to think, I thought Alistair Carmichael had a brass neck? Is it something in the water?

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