Scottish row on salmon roe

Government's decision to allow egg imports causes industry objection
Hatchery International staff
June 05, 2018
By Hatchery International staff
Scotland's largest independent salmon egg producer is taking on the Scottish government for a ruling that it claims poses "massive risk" by allowing the import of salmon eggs from Norway and Iceland risking disease transfer from infected countries, the Scottish paper The National has reported.

In a letter to Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing back in February, Hendrix Genetics' Neil Manchester said the government's refusal to ban salmon roe import makes a "complete mockery of the brand 'Scottish Salmon.'"

"This means that the Scottish salmon industry is now 100% reliant on imported eggs – both a massive risk in the event of borders closing for disease issues (and also the transfer of ISA from infected countries such as Norway), but also making a complete mockery of the brand 'Scottish Salmon,'" the letter stated.

Advocacy group Scottish Salmon Watch, which posted portion of Manchester's letter to Ewing online, had also written to Scottish government cabinet secretaries urging the ban of imported salmon eggs from Norway to "safeguard what's left of the genetic integrity of Scottish salmon." The group also cited the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment's current ban on the import of ova from Scotland.

"It speaks volumes that the Norwegian Government is fighting to protect biodiversity and values wild salmon highly whilst the Scottish Government is happy to sell wild salmon down the river," said the letter from Scottish Salmon Watch addressed to the cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform, and the cabinet secretary for rural economy and connectivity.

Nine out of ten salmon farmed in Scotland come from eggs imported from overseas, according to date released last spring. The Scottish government recently confirmed there are no plans to introduce new restrictions on salmon egg imports, The National has reported.

Meanwhile, Mancheseter told The National, his company accepts the government's decisions and will "focus on supporting the Scottish industry."

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