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Salmon industry welcomes Gougeon to aquaculture role

Mairi Gougeon has replaced Fergus Ewing as the minister in charge of aquaculture in Scotland.
Mairi Gougeon has replaced Fergus Ewing as the minister in charge of aquaculture in Scotland.

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has congratulated Mairi Gougeon on becoming the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, a new role that includes aquaculture.

Gougeon was appointed as part of a new, slimmed-down Cabinet announced today by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

The 36-year-old has been the MSP for Angus North and Mearns since 2016 and was Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment from June 2018 until December last year, when she was appointed Minister of Public Health and Sport.

Early meeting

SSPO chief executive Tavish Scott said: “The Scottish salmon sector looks forward to working with Ms Gougeon. The Scottish Government has been hugely supportive of fish farming in our commitments to be net zero in greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and to lead the Covid-19 recovery as Scotland’s largest food export.

“We are delighted that Ms Gougeon has been appointed to the Cabinet with responsibility for aquaculture and rural issues and the Islands.

“I will be asking for an early meeting with Ms Gougeon so we can start work on the SNP’s welcome manifesto commitment to regulatory reform and the myriad of other pressing issues affecting our members.

“It is particularly important that this manifesto commitment is in the 100 days plan that the First Minister has already announced, and I look forward to working with our new Cabinet Secretary on that important change agenda.”

Drive and enthusiasm

Scott also paid tribute to departing Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing, who has not returned to the Cabinet. He said: “The fish farming sector has had a productive, thoughtful and positive relationship with Fergus over five years.

“We greatly valued his can-do attitude and will miss his drive and enthusiasm. Our entire sector wishes Fergus best wishes for the future.”