Finfish aquaculture regulatory position

SEPA is committed to supporting everyone it regulates during the COVID-19 public health emergency, while maintaining protection of Scotland’s environment. This regulatory position applies to marine and freshwater finfish aquaculture sites. It applies only in Scotland.

During this period, we expect regulated businesses to make their best endeavours to meet their environmental obligations and are helping regulated businesses to adjust and adapt recognising that resources and capacities are severely constrained.

We recognise that during a significant outbreak of COVID-19 the ability of operators to run their operations may be compromised by a lack of available staff, and/or the need to protect staff and minimise transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Finfish aquaculture sector temporary regulatory position statement

This regulatory position applies to marine and freshwater finfish aquaculture sites. It applies only in Scotland. We expect all operators in the finfish aquaculture sector to manage their farms and hatcheries during the period of the COVID-19 public health emergency to minimise the risk of harm to the environment as far as possible.

The regulatory position describes how and in what circumstances operators may temporarily operate under the conditions of the position.

A new appendix has been added to this position statement to provide guidance to operators on how the simple environmental risk assessments it refers to might be undertaken.

The terms of this regulatory position may be subject to periodical review and may be varied or withdrawn by SEPA, for example in light of changes in circumstances during the outbreak; technological, regulatory or legislative changes; future government guidance; or experience of its use. We will provide notice in advance to the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) and the British Trout Association of its intention to vary or withdraw this position. We reserve discretion to depart from this regulatory position and to take appropriate action to avoid any risk of pollution or harm to human health or the environment.

Use of sea lice medicines at marine finfish farms

During this unprecedented public health emergency, SEPA recognises the important contribution of the finfish aquaculture sector to maintaining food security; its continuing responsibilities for the health and welfare of its fish; and its priorities, shared by all organisations and businesses, of keeping workers safe and minimising the risk of contributing to the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

Like all food production sectors, finfish farm operators rely on farm workers being on site to look after the fish and to manage production rather than working from home where social distancing is far easier to maintain. SEPA can support fish farm operators during the COVID-19 outbreak by adopting regulatory positions that enable them to protect the environment as effectively as possible, look after the health of their fish and maintain food supplies whilst keeping their front-line workers safe.

This second version of the regulatory position statement includes additional details under Sections 3 and 4, and a new annex of shellfish farm locations.


Finfish aquaculture regulatory positions

Contact information

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