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The Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh. More than half of MSPs say they know a fair amount about fish farming.
The Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh. More than half of MSPs say they know a fair amount about fish farming.

A poll of Scottish MSPs has found that attitudes towards the Scottish salmon farming sector improved last year.

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MSPs were questioned about the industry and other sectors in the wide-ranging poll commissioned by the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) and other organisations and carried out by PA Advocacy in December.

According to the poll, 73% of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee – which carried out an inquiry into salmon farming in 2008 - viewed the salmon farming sector favourably.

The number of MSPs with a favourable opinion of salmon farming has risen.
The number of MSPs with a favourable opinion of salmon farming has risen.

More knowledge

The number of MSPs with a favourable opinion of salmon farming increased from 34% in 2018 to 43% last year, with the number viewing it unfavourably falling from 25% to 20%.

The poll also showed that more than half of MSPs (56%) say they know a fair amount or more about salmon farming, up from 48% in 2018. In particular, MSPs representing the Highlands and Islands said they have knowledge of salmon farming.

The SSPO has also boosted its influence with MSPs, as 45% of those questioned saying they were satisfied with contact during the past year, up from 32% in 2018. Only one MSP expressed dissatisfaction.

Hamish Macdonell: More politicians gaining a better understanding of the industry.
Hamish Macdonell: More politicians gaining a better understanding of the industry.

‘Better understanding’

MSPs are likely to suggest that information about fish welfare and the environment could improve confidence in the sector.

SSPO strategic engagement director Hamish Macdonell said: “The Scottish salmon sector has always had a good relationship with MSPs in our farming areas but it is good to see that more and more politicians - from right across the country - are gaining a better understanding of who we are and what we do.

“This can only encourage support for the UK’s leading food export and one of Scotland’s major farming success stories.”

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