Turning tide

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There can be no doubt that the tide could be turning for the owners and developers of fish farms in Scotlan  following the revelatory episode of BBCs Panorama this week which asked: ‘Is there a problem with salmon farming?’

The programme, produced in Scotland, exposed some fish farm practices concerning animal welfare and environmental damage which has produced revulsion in many of the commentators who had their worst suspicions of animal welfare and environmental damage confirmed.

Concerning too, was the fact that regulations, which govern the industry in Scotland, are far more relaxed than that of Denmark, for instance, where operators are strictly monitored and regulated. It begs the question, Is Scotland’s environment being damaged by a loosely regulated industry?

The juxtaposition of facts from the industry, and those of concerned environmentalists, are starkly in contrast, and the truth may possibly lie somewhere in-between the two.

The only way that the muddy waters can be cleared is if there is openness and transparency from all parties, something that many at this week’s Q&A sessions felt was distinctly lacking. If confidence is to be restored in the industry, and many will argue that it is desperately needed, players are going to have to learn to work with the communities that they operate in if they wish to avoid continually having to swim against the current of public opinion.