New laws regulating the salmon farming industry are being introduced without any clear reason, claims MSP Tavish Scott.
Speaking ahead of a parliamentary debate on Thursday Mr Scott said the proposed bill would introduce more costs and the industry, which employs hundreds across Shetland on sea farms, processing and support businesses, would pick up the cost.
He said, if enacted, it would be the third law regulating salmon farming in 12 years.
“Numerous government quangos already police the salmon farming industry. Now the Scottish government wants more regulation and plans to impose new costs on the industry,” he said.
“Typically the government give no detail on these extra costs yet but the industry estimates that it could hit the industry by £20 million a year.
“The government is also planning to impose new legal sanctions on sea farms in the form of fixed penalty notices. Powers already exist to prosecute illegal actions through the Procurator Fiscal and based on SEPA investigations. Why then does this Government want yet another legal route?
“If the Government have no faith in SEPA they should address that issue rather than introduce new legal sanctions.
“Fish farming is an important industry for Shetland and we need a government that support its future; not one that piles on extra costs.”