More transparency and collaboration would benefit the aquaculture sector
A new report from the Scottish Science Advisory Council highlights potential ways to improve how science is understood, interpreted and used in the aquaculture sector, as well as opportunities for the Scottish Government (SG) to help address some of these issues going forward.
‘Use of Science and Evidence in Aquaculture Consenting and the Sustainable Development of Scottish Aquaculture’ was requested by the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands to examine current use and communication of science and scientific evidence in aquaculture consenting and sustainable development of the sector. These were examined against the following principles taken from the International Science Council’s (ISC) Principles and Structures of Science Advice: independence, legitimacy, relevance and access, diversity, and reducing uncertainty.
The report makes a number of recommendations to the SG, including the need to deal with what the SSAC calls the “fragmentation of research” and the need for more transparency around research topics in the sector, as well as a need for more collaboration amongst stakeholders. The report also points to the benefits and need for commissioning independent science advice. While the main recommendations are directed at the SG, the report is clear that for the aquaculture sector to deliver the benefits it can bring for the Scottish people, there are actions that all stakeholders can take.
SSAC Chair Professor Maggie Gill said:
“All human activity has an impact on our environment – one of the roles of science is to help governments minimise the risks while also enhancing the availability of healthy foods. The marine environment is particularly complex and hence much of the science is uncertain. Our report recommends that the Scottish Government should facilitate more inclusive engagement with stakeholders around the science and also commission independent horizon scanning of likely changes which could impact on regulations.”
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, said:
“I am pleased to welcome the Scottish Science Advisory Council’s report and I would like to thank Professor Maggie Gill and SSAC members for their detailed consideration.
“This report considers important issues first raised by the regulatory review of aquaculture. I will now take the time to carefully consider the report along with seeking the views of Scottish Aquaculture Council members.
“I have said before that I believe Scottish aquaculture has a vital role to play in producing world-renowned healthy and quality seafood, and we are committed to supporting the sector achieve more sustainable food production and protection of the environment.”
The SSAC report ‘Use of Science and Evidence in Aquaculture Consenting and the Sustainable Development of Scottish Aquaculture’ is available on the website here - SSAC Aquaculture Report - Use of Science and Evidence in Aquaculture Consenting and the Sustainable Development of Scottish Aquaculture
NOTES FOR NEWS EDITORS
Media enquiries: Joanne Ward - 01412420202 / Joanne.Ward@gov.scot