USAN Salmon Fisheries played host to members of a Scottish Parliament committee at the weekend as part of a fact-finding mission in the effects of new legislation.
The group of MSPs, members of the parliament’s rural affairs, climate change and environment committee, were given a tour of the site on Saturday by director George Pullar, which included looking at its boat manufacturing facility and also examining a traditional ice house and the boats and nest the company uses for its business.
The committee members also travelled along the coast to see where the wild salmon fishery operates at sea and hear how the forthcoming Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) bill would potentially impact on its operations.
This visit was to contribute to the Committee’s scrutiny of the bill and gave the committee a chance to see a traditional wild salmon fishery in action to ensure that the balance of the fishing reforms are right as they affect wild, farmed fisheries, wild angling and the environment.
The general principles of the bill are now under consideration and the committee is calling for views of those with an interest to be submitted by Monday, November 26.
The proposals’ key features include new legal measures for fish farm operators including statutory farm management agreements, requirements for technical equipment standards and control mechanisms for the operation of wellboats; moves to improve the management and governance of District Salmon Fisheries Boards, making them more transparent and accountable, with powers for ministers to intervene; and powers to impose charges in connection with services provided by Marine Scotland in carrying out of functions relating to fish and shellfish farming, freshwater fisheries, and sea fisheries.
It also proposes additional enforcement powers to support sea fishery officers carrying out monitoring and investigation duties, and the extension of Fixed Penalty Notices to respond to issues of regulatory non-compliance.
Committee convener Rob Gibson said the visit had been “invaluable” to the committee’s considerations of the bill.
He said: “The fishing industry and wild angling sectors are an important source of employment in the Angus region and in other parts of Scotland. The preservation of Scotland’s seas and rivers are also critical for our environment.
“MSPs met with a family-owned wild salmon fishery and learned more about their operations and were also able to understand how the proposed legislation would impact on the company. This is invaluable for the committee’s scrutiny of this legislation and for the committee to determine if the balance of the reforms is right. The Committee is also interested to hear from all those with an interest in the bill.”