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SCOTLAND - Failure to block salmon roe imports sparks row

In a scathing letter to Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, the head of the country’s largest independent salmon egg producer hit out over the Scottish Government’s refusal to introduce “protection” for wild fish, saying Scottish salmon could become a “complete mockery” after ministers failed to protect native species.

Neil Manchester of Hendrix Genetics says the failure to impose an import bar on roe for the country’s lucrative salmon farms will leave Scotland’s multi-billion pound industry “reliant on imported eggs” from rivals like Norway and Iceland and make a “mockery of the brand ‘Scottish salmon’”. This, Manchester said, poses a “massive risk” to the supply chain and a danger to wild stocks if the “foreign” fish escape into the country’s rivers.

It has also forced a change of strategy for Landcatch, the Argyll breeding centre which has worked with scientists at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Stirling universities on genetic breakthroughs aimed at countering sea lice.The Ormsary facility, set up in 1980 by the Port Glasgow-based Lithgow family, was heavily supported by Scottish Enterprise in the 1990s but Manchester, whose firm acquired the site several years ago, told Ewing its plans were “destroyed” by competition problems. The claim is based on the impact of Norway’s decision to bar Scottish roe from its salmon farms.

Landcatch had hoped to break into the market there, but the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment ruled doing so could threaten its biodiversity ... read more [Source: The National]