Recommendations from inquiry will be used in development of aquaculture strategy Farmed salmon's chance for more balanced picture It's been a rough year for Scottish aquaculture in the public eye ­ a year which has seen it come under constant sensationalist attacks from ecological and environmental lobbies, the Sunday Times and the BBC. Now, though, an industry providing growing tonnages of farmed fish to replace dwindling wild stocks is hoping for more positive treatment. As part of its rolling inquiry' into aquaculture, the Scottish Parliament's Transport & Environment Committee began to hear evidence from witnesses this week. Oral and written submissions are being heard from the wild fishery sector, environmental lobbyists, shellfish growers, regulatory bodies, independent scientists, and Scottish Executive experts. Word from the industry is of unfair allocation of time to give oral evidence, although the Committee line is that equal attention is being given to the many written submissions received. Recommendations from the inquiry panel will be used in the development of an aquaculture strategy for Scotland, for which a major consultation is currently under way. A debate on the strategy is being held on December 5 in Edinburgh to which interested parties are invited. The industry ­ a major source of employment for the Highlands and Islands ­ has constantly been forced onto the defensive over lobbyists' worries about pollution and damage to wild stocks. There are also questions over sustainability when small fish species are being taken from the food chain to provide feed for farmed fish. Scottish Quality Salmon chairman Lord Lindsay welcomed elements of the WWF report into Scottish aquaculture Bitter Harvest'. "Although it is somewhat grudging, WWF is recognising the far sighted efforts and commitment of SQS members to create and maintain a sustainable and environmentally responsible industry," he said. "In many areas, SQS members are delivering on the environmental performance which WWF is calling for." {{MEAT }}