Wilson orders review of guidelines governing location of fish farms Probe not in favour of blanket moratorium A review of the guidelines governing the location of fish farms in Scotland has been announced by the deputy minister for environment and rural development Allan Wilson. The move coincides with the conclusion of the first phase of the Scottish Parliament's transport and environment committee's inquiry into aquaculture last week. Phase one examined examined regulation of the industry, while phase two, kicking off in Oban next week, will look at how the controversial industry should develop. Said Wilson: "It is crucial to strike a balance between the needs of this growing sector and its impact on the environment. It is more than two years since these guidelines were first introduced and there have been significant developments in that relatively short time. "It is therefore timely to re-examine how we decide where fish farms for all species should be located." The Committee's phase one report has recommended that there is an urgent need for better research into the capacity of marine coastal waters to cope with what has become a big industry producing some 130,000 tonnes of farmed salmon in a year. But taking a stance that will infuriate Scottish farmed salmon's environmentalist enemies, the committee has stated that "the introduction of a blanket moratorium on further aquaculture developments would not be beneficial to the industry or the environment". However, there are locations in which further development should not take place, and the committee recommends that the Scottish Executive urgently examine the location of existing farms and identify those farms that are "inappropriately sited". Among other recommendations, primarily focusing on a tightening and improvement of regulations, "the Committee strongly endorses the intention of the Executive to regulate the process of fish farming rather than merely the discharges". The Scottish Executive has announced that it has awarded a contract to the Scottish Association of Marine Sciences, based at Dunstaffnage near Oban. The contract is to provide independent scientific opinion to the committee on the subject of finfish aquaculture and its environmental impact. {{MEAT }}