The Scottish Government has published Locational Guidelines ("the Guidelines") for the authorisation of marine fish farms in Scottish waters.

The tables and maps in the Guidelines describe the Category 1, 2 and 3 areas designated on the basis of Marine Scotland Science ("MSS") predictive modelling to estimate nutrient enhancement and benthic impact in sea lochs or similar water bodies supporting aquaculture.

Predictive models were used to assign each sea loch an index of ‘nutrient enhancement’ and ‘benthic impact’. The sum of these indices was then used for the categorisation of areas.

For a detailed explanation of how these categorisations were derived, please refer to the Scottish Fisheries Research Report ‘Scottish Government Locational Guidelines for fish farming: Predicted levels of nutrient enhancement and benthic impact’ which provides guidance to the aquaculture industry and regulatory bodies on the environmental suitability of coastal areas for marine fish farming. The guidance was based on advice from Scottish Natural Heritage and Fisheries Research Services (FRS), relating to the relative environmental sensitivity of local areas supporting aquaculture. The purpose of the document is to describe the predictive modelling approach used to inform the FRS component, through estimation of the levels of nutrient enhancement and benthic impact arising from current marine finfish cultivation in sea lochs (and similar semi-enclosed water bodies).

For more legal support, please contact Jackie McGuire, Johanna Boyd or your usual Brodies contact.