Oban start for stage two The second phase of the Scottish Executive's Transport and Environment Committee Inquiry into Aquaculture began last week with a meeting in Oban. Once the aquaculture strategy is put in place later this year, and the means of monitoring compliance agreed, aquaculturists hope criticism of the industry will die down. It remains to be seen if its implementation will change people's perception of salmon, buoying up their ideas of it being an affordable, healthy food that is farmed in a responsible and sustainable fashion, or reinforce current prejudices. Many of the MSPs had not seen aquaculture in action before. Fiona McLeod, visiting Cadderlie Mussels' sites in Loch Etive, was impressed by the scale of productivity in the loch and the low visual impact of the growing structures. She also learned at first hand of the level of co-operation between salmon and shellfish farmers, which is the opposite view to that put across to the public by many NGOs. Committee convenor Bristow Muldoon, visiting Kames salmon hatchery and halibut farm, spoke of the growing importance of diversification into new species. {{MEAT }}