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Ministers Visit Fort William as Part of Fishing Reform Scrutiny

20 November 2012

SCOTLAND, UK - The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee visited Fort William on 16 and 17 November as part of their scrutiny of the Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill, which is set to reform both wild and farmed fisheries.

MSPs were given first hand experience of Marine Harvest's operations in the Fort William area - from learning how farmed salmon are bred, to looking at a new world-class smolt hatchery which is being built at Lochailort, then to the salmon's journey to freshwater at a site near Glenfinnan. The Committee were then shown a seawater site and were also given a tour of Marine Harvest's Blar Mhor processing plant.

Members were also given the opportunity to look at an innovative project which is aiming to restore wild salmon and sea trout in the Lochaber region, run by the River Lochy Association in partnership with a number of other organisations including Marine Harvest.

Rob Gibson MSP, convener of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee said: “The Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee are currently considering legislation that will affect both the farmed and freshwater fishing sectors. The farmed fishing industry is a significant employer in the Fort William area, whilst the wild angling sector attracts thousands of visitors to our rivers and their preservation is critical for our environment.

“MSPs were delighted to see first-hand Marine Harvest's operations in the Fort William area - seeing how fish will be bred in a new world class smolt hatchery in Lochailort to their journey to freshwater pens and then finally when they go out to sea and are processed.

"Members also saw an innovative project run by the River Lochy Association in partnership with Marine Harvest in an effort to restore fish in the River Lochy.

"This has been invaluable for the Committee to see and will help inform their scrutiny of the Bill”.

In order to inform the Committee’s scrutiny of the general principles, the Committee is looking for your views by 26 November – link to the call for evidence is available here: www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/55868.aspx

The Committee also visited Aberdeenshire and Montrose on 9 and 10 November to look freshwater fisheries and a wild salmon netting company.

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