Scottish minister argues that independence would benefit salmon industry

Editorial Staff

Paper from the Scottish government argues that Scotland’s salmon industry is  deprioritised in free trade negotiations in favor of other UK interests.

The Scottish Government has released a new paper, titled “Building a New Scotland: Our Marine Sector in an Independent Scotland,” which details how the nation’s seafood industry could flourish post-independence.

The document highlights the constraints currently faced due to legislative powers being under the exclusive control of the UK government, particularly in areas critical for harnessing Scotland’s full marine potential.

The paper also points out out that Scotland has nearly two-thirds share of the UK’s current Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – the area where a sovereign state has exclusive rights to the exploitation and use of marine resources.

As part of the Building a New Scotland series, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, appeared in Dunbar to launch the paper and discuss the benefits of independence for industries and communities dependent upon Scotland’s marine environment.

Gougeon, in response to a question from The National, affirmed that Scotland’s aquaculture sector would continue to grow post-independence, emphasizing the importance of maintaining good environmental health in Scotland’s waters.

One of the key issues addressed in the paper is Scotland’s inability to independently negotiate its seafood interests on an international stage. This limitation, as the document notes, puts at risk vital sectors like the salmon industry, which holds significantly more importance for Scotland than for the rest of the UK. The paper argues that such interests are often deprioritized in UK’s free trade negotiations in favor of other UK interests.

12,000 jobs

The minister highlighted the sector’s significance, noting that Scottish salmon, as the nation’s largest food export, supports approximately 12,000 jobs in remote and rural areas and contributes to local housing development.

Despite its economic importance, she stressed that the growth of the aquaculture sector should not come at any cost. To ensure sustainable development, the Scottish Government published the Vision for Sustainable Aquaculture, which aims to collaborate with the industry, communities, and environmental organizations for a sustainable future of aquaculture in Scotland.


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