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TWG Plenary Group Meeting, 30 November

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					TWG PLENARY GROUP                                           AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


                         TWG Plenary Group Meeting, 19 July 2007
                                   Meeting Room 001
                            Scottish Executive Victoria Quay

                                    Chairman David Wilson


Welcome and apologies
1.     A note of thanks was recorded to outgoing Members Gordon Brown (SE Marine
Directorate), Phil Gilmour (Marine Directorate), Pauline Munro (FRS ML) and Ian Pritchard
(Crown Estate). The Chair will write to outgoing members to formally thank them for their
contribution to the TWG Programme.                      Action Secretariat and David Wilson

2.     A welcome was extended to new attendees Alex Adrian (Crown Estate), Rebecca Dean
(Skye RDO), David Ford (SE Marine Directorate) and to Trish Amundrud (FRS ML), John
Gilbey (FRS FL) and David Hay (FRS FL) who were presenting to the Group.

3.     Apologies were received from Ben Hadfield (Marine Harvest Scotland), Alan Anderson,
(Fjord Seafood Scotland), Trevor Hastings (FRS FL), Andy Rosie (SEPA), Colin Bean (SNH),
Chris Webb (Mainstream Scotland), Lucy fry (Argyll and Lochaber RDO), Heather Jones (SE
Marine Directorate), Charles Allen (FRS ML). Apologies were also received from Eva Garcia
Vazquez (University of Oviedo), who was to present on GenImpact. Attendees shown at Annex

Minute of November 2006 meeting and Actions Arising
4.     The minute of the November 06 minute had previously been agreed by correspondence
and had been published on the SE website. The principle actions arising from that meeting were
covered under agenda items 8 & 9. Other actions had been completed or had been subsumed
within ongoing work. The issue of publicising GS information material on CalMac ferry routes
was raised. The SE was currently reviewing its publicity strategy for GS and exploring options
for widening out to cover CalMac routes. The Group will be kept informed of progress.
                                                                          Action Secretariat

Summary of recent Policy Developments 
 Trade Defence
5.     The World Trade Organisation was currently reviewing MIP with a view to reporting in
September 07. Scottish Ministers were continuing to encourage the Commission to retain the
measures already in place.

Relocation
6.      The Scottish Executive had made available £500K per year until the end of financial year
07/08 to facilitate applications for relocation of farms. The SE is currently re-engaging with the
industry to encourage uptake. Options of how the relocation budget may be used to support
elements of the SSPO innovation project are also under consideration. Members considered that
relocation was an important tool in supporting TWG objectives, particularly where risks from
lice could be reduced. It was agreed that the Location Relocation Working Group be reconvened
to consider how move this area forward.                                      Action Secretariat

Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Act 20007.
7.     The Act would come into force on 1 August 2007. It was noted that trout farms will also
be covered under the Act and that guidance on containment and sea lice were currently being
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                           AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


drafted for use by inspectors. Site inspections would be carried out on a risk-based system,
whereby operators not signed up to the industry code of good practice would be more likely to be
inspected. The guidance will take the form of standard operating procedures for inspectors, to
ensure that the inspector‟s activities are fit for purpose from a legal perspective. David Ford
explained that going further would require the enactment of Section 7 of the Act. It was noted
that the SSPO were happy to be involved in assisting with the development of guidelines.

Transfer & Planning Guidance
8.     Members were informed that the SE is currently developing guidance with a view to
publishing in due course.

NASCO Implementation Plans
9.     Draft implementation plans were submitted to Council in June 2006. The output of that
process was mixed with some Plans fairing better than others. Council agreed that Parties will
revise their Plans in consideration of the review and other Parties‟ Plans and to submit these by
1 November 2007. The Ad Hoc review group will then conduct one final review which will
report to parties by 1 March 2008. Marine Directorate, Freshwater Fisheries and Aquaculture to
engage closely again with ASFB and RAFTS to re-draft the Scottish implementation plan to
bring it into line, insofar as possible and in particular with timeframes for integrated fisheries
management planning, with the advice received from the NASCO President's ad hoc Advisory
Group. Sid Patten informed Members that the SSPO had provided a discussion paper to
NASCO for the June Council meeting and indicated that the Scottish industry would be
supportive, should a formal response be received.

New Administration
10.     The Chairman commented on some of the high-level policy objectives of the new
Administration which would have an impact on key areas of business of Marine Directorate. The
approach to Trade Defence had not changed and Scottish Ministers had now engaged with the
Commission on MIP. An overarching food policy was to be developed, which would impact on
aquaculture policy. In addition, a Scottish Marine Bill will be developed, over the next 2 to 3
years, which would cover all activities in Scottish Territorial waters.


GenImpact Symposium
11.     Stuart Baxter updated Members on the GenImpact project, financed by the European
Commission. The purpose of the project, which started in November 2005, was to review
existing knowledge necessary to assess genetic effects of aquaculture on biodiversity, review
future research needs, and disseminate this information to a wider public. To achieve this,
GenImpact has convened a series of expert workshops on risk assessment, interbreeding and
aquaculture-ecosystem interactions. The final workshop was held in Bergen, 2 to 4 July 2007.

12.     Key representatives from science, industry, NGOs and government attended the
symposium. The output will be report to the European Commission, made available for public
discussion, to identify gaps in current knowledge and the suggested research priorities identified
during these expert workshops. This will be used to develop consensus statements on the “state
of the art” as regards genetic impact of farming activities and its implications for aquaculture
management, stock conservation and environment safety. Members will be provided with the
report once finalised by the GenImpact Steering Committee and agreed by participating
delegates.                                                                    Action Secretariat
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                            AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007




13.    The Group considered that both genetic and containment strategies were important to
minimise the risks to wild breeding populations. The Group had acknowledged the importance of
genetic work at its November 06 meeting and considered that assessing the level to which
genetic interaction may have taken place in Scottish wild salmon populations would enhance the
understanding of the scale of the issue.

Modelling Cultured/Wild Genetic Interactions of Atlantic Salmon
14.    John Gilbey presented his work on the development of a general genetic and population
model to explore the impact of gene flow from farmed and/or stocked fish on wild populations. It
was acknowledged that the model was developed taking full account of assumptions,
uncertainties and gaps in baseline data. The work had shown that:

   •   Interaction and introgresion (interbreeding) of farm and wild fish has the potential to
       have significant impacts on both the character and abundance of wild populations
   •   Changes in character may occur before changes in adult numbers, and so might be used
       as an early indicator
   •   Populations may apparently „stabilise‟ at lower levels, but may later decline further
   •   „Health‟ of the wild populations is important in the outcome of interaction scenarios
   •   The impact of introgression may take many decades to reverse, if this is possible at all

15.     Gaps in baseline data such as identification of farm fish (including their offspring) in the
wild, levels of introgression, populations size, ocean mortality rate and fitness differences
between wild and farmed fish should allow the model to be applied to specific rivers of interest.

16.     It was acknowledged that whilst escapes were a risk to the genetics of wild fish and that
short-term work should be taken forward on industry guidelines, it was fundamental to use the
genetic modelling and the emerging data and understanding of the genetic profile of wild salmon
in West Coast river systems as a framework for identifying scenarios for possible action and
longer-term TWG policy development.

Shieldaig Sea Lice Research
17.     David Hay presented a summary of the sea lice research undertaken at the Shieldaig
Station. Prior to the formation of the AMG in 2001 there had been substantial levels of sea lice
infestations in early returning post-smolts and high densities of sea lice copepods around river
mouth. The Shieldaig project had begun to monitor fish farm lice levels, open water lice levels,
in order to model lice transport mechanism and fish farm gravid lice/shoreline sea lice larvae
correlation.

18.     The AMA had resulted in the introduction of synchronous fish farm slice treatments and
between 2004 to 2006, very low levels of gravid lice on fish farms, shoreline larvae levels falling
to zero, sea trout marine survival rates improving and returns of sea trout to trap increasing.
However, between late 2006 and spring 2007 its was noted that slice treatments appeared to
become less effective at clearing lice and that Excis treatments were required to effect a fully
effective treatment. Increased observations of lice in open and shore-line water and in returning
wild fish were also observed during this period.

19.     It was noted that other factors such as marine temperature may be having an effect on lice
levels. However, concern was raised that the possibility of a decrease in slice effectiveness in
treatment of lice posed a serious threat to the Scottish aquaculture industry and to the TWG
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                           AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


programme. There are a limited number of alternative medicines available and in use in Norway
but these are currently not being produced for the UK market. One option may be for Scottish
Ministers to raise this at EU level but the issue remained that the manufacturers had not applied
to the VMD for the approval to market in the UK. It was recognised that the key issues would be
how to monitor the possible development of resistance in an open and transparent manner, how
to manage resistance if this became a reality and how to stimulate further research to inform
management policy. The Integrated Sea Lice Management Working Group was to be re-
convened in the near future, tasked with identifying research needs. The output of that meeting
will be fed back to Members.                                                Action Secretariat

20.     The Group recognised the urgent need to consider what alternative treatments such as
dietary additives and the use of wrasse as cleaner fish, may be practically feasible to augment the
use of Slice. The Innovation project, funded by the SE and SARF, may provide useful
information. The project details had been agreed and the output of that work was anticipated in 6
to 9 months. It was noted that the SE relocation programme may usefully dovetail into the
Innovation project and that this should be examined.      Action Secretariat & Brian Wallace

Dispersion and Transport of Sea Lice
21.     Trish Amundrud presented initial findings on the development of 3-d circulation models
to examine the dispersal of sea lice in West Coast loch systems. Loch Torridon had been the
principle study site. However, the models had yet to be validated but particle tracking models
had taken account of biological behaviours. Validation would require to take account of physical
oceanographic data and plankton sampling. The work had shown that long distance transport of
sea lice is possible within a sea loch and that lice are predicted to aggregate at coastlines.

22.    The final goal of the work is to provide a management tool capable of predicting lice
movement and dispersal for specific loch areas. Models remain the best available tool to do this.
However, further wind data on a regional scale would be required to validate the models as this
represented the major influencing factor for dispersal. It was noted that a longer-term aspiration
would be to use the model as a tool to identify relocation sites and that how this could be taken
forward should be discussed by the Location/Re-location Working Group. Action Secretariat

23.    It was noted that the SSPO technical seminars had been re-established and that it would
be worth considering providing a seminar of the work to producers to explain how lice dispersal
works.                                                                        Action SSPO


TWG Restoration Sub-Group Review
24.     Stuart Baxter introduced discussion paper 1. The review of the restoration Subgroup had
been a long but important process. Management group had discussed at the February 07 meeting.
However, without a quorum of Core Members the final discussion of the review was undertaken
by Core Management Group and RAFTS (at the direction of Management Group to provide
input on research) to finalise the review on 30 April 2007. Members were requested to consider
the final review and the recommendations contained therein, comment as necessary and to
endorse the review.

25.     Seymour Monro, Chair of AST and the core Restoration Sub-Group, informed Members
that the Subgroup was content to agree the principle recommendations of the review, the
dissolution of the Restoration Sub-Group and that its membership would be represented at
Management Group. The Group endorsed the review and agreed that the Chairman should write
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                          AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


to Seymour Monro and all members of the restoration Sub-Group, to formally set out the
position of Plenary Group, to allow the work programme of the review to be formalised with
John Webb.
        Action David Wilson & Secretariat

TWG PR Strategy Review
26.    John Webster introduced discussion paper 2. The paper covered the progress of the PR
programme, reviewed its success and recommended options for the future. Management Group
endorsed the review and its recommendations at its meeting on 27 June 2007. Members were
requested to consider the conclusions and recommendations of the review and comment on them
as appropriate. Members agreed to endorse the review and requested that Management Group
should review the strategy again in advance of Phase VI of the TWG programme.
                                                                       Action Secretariat

27.      Sid Patten registered concern, on behalf of the SSPO, regarding how comments made by
the RAFTS Chairman published recently in an article on farmed fish escapes in the Scotsman
could potentially be misconstrued. It was agreed that the Chairman would write, on behalf of the
Group, to the RAFTS Chairman, offering the assistance of the TWG PR representatives if
required.
                                                         Action Secretariat and David Wilson

Regional updates
Western Isles
28.      Anne Marie MacIver provided a presentation on recent activity and issues in the Western
Isles. Increased post-smolt lice sampling on the Halladale River had been requested by
aquaculture partners in the West Loch Tarbert AMG. This was required to ensure the data was
statistically sound. It was agreed this should proceed but that costs should be kept under review
and that Management Group should be informed if this became an issue for the Western Isles
budget.

29.    One operator in one of the isle of Lewis AMGs has recently taken on contract brood-
stock production for another producer. This is presenting problems for the AMG given this
involves continuous production. It was noted that relocation would resolve this issue but the
producer was resistant to this. The issue will be discussed at the forthcoming AMA meeting with
a view to trying to identify a consensus position.

30.     Farm escapes continue to be an issue, with predator damage to nets the major cause. This
is despite substantial investment by producers to prevent escape incidents. Post smolt sampling
has shown relatively high levels of infestation in wild fish from sites with and without farms.
This has lead to concern amongst producers who have considered using slice treatments
reactively to reports of lice in wild fish.

West Sutherland &Wester Ross
31.    Ailsa McLellan provided a presentation on activity and issues in West Sutherland &
Wester Ross. All AMA agreements are being amended to include GS prevention commitment
from wild fish interests. This will also provide an opportunity to update AMAs to take account of
changes in operators in certain AMGs. Work continues on developing and agreeing a Farm
Partnership Agreement for the 2 Loch Brooms.
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                           AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


32.      The observation of high lice counts in wild fish in Loch Ewe continues to pose handling
problems. This phenomenon appears to be seen across the West Coast as it was last year.
However, local angling, lobby interests and certain journalists have become active in voicing
dissent about fish farms despite lice counts on farms being low. These issues will be discussed at
the next AMA meeting with a view to identifying a communication strategy for the AMA.
                                                              Action Stuart Baxter to attend

33.     The 2 Brooms AMA remains unsigned due to outstanding planning issues. A farm-
partnership agreement was being examined as a possibility. James Bromham informed the Group
that the final decision to grant permission still rests with the Crown Estate because the initial
application pre-existed the Planning Act.
                                       Action Ailsa McLellan & James Bromham to discuss

34.     The Chairman formally thanked Ailsa for her sterling efforts in managing a large area
whilst technically serving as a part-time RDO.

Argyll and Lochaber
35.     Jane Wright provided a presentation on activity and issues in Argyll and Lochaber. The
Lower Lorne AMA has been signed and progress continues to be made with the Arran AMA.

36.     Members were informed that rainbow trout escapes in the region had presented a serious
and persistent problem. Alleged lack of reporting by producers was also raised as an issue. In
response, the Scottish Executive had put measures in place to improve the reporting of suspected
escape incidents, which now closely involved Fisheries Trusts. This had worked well with recent
incidents and Jane expressed thanks on behalf of RAFTS. It was recognised that the situation
with rainbow trout escapes had been frustrating and undesirable. However, it was noted that
there were certain difficulties in pursuing a prosecution of knowingly failing to report an escape
incident. It was agreed to invite a representative from the BTA to attend Management and
Plenary Group meetings, to field trout issues, as necessary.                 Action Secretariat

Skye
37.    Rebecca Dean provided a presentation on activity and issues in developing an AMA for
Skye. A draft AMA is currently being negotiated between Marine Harvest Scotland, Kames trout
Farms, Panfish Scotland, Skye DSFB and a commercial netsman. The AMA will cover all of
Skye and the Southern Isles and will likely be managed in individual management areas.

38.     Project work including a habitat survey and population survey of Skye‟s 14 salmon
rivers, genetic analysis and possible tagging work on commercially netted salmon is being
planned to support the AMG.

SR07
39.     David Ford updated the Group on continued TWG funding in SR07. The next spending
round will be tight and a clear demonstration of policy value will be required to continue funding
of the TWG programme. However, the SE will be putting forward a strong case which will be
backed by strategic research projects (see below).

TWG Project Work
40.     Stuart Baxter introduced information paper 1 TWG-related project work. Two strands of
strategic research work have been taken forward to identify the tangible benefits of the TWG
TWG PLENARY GROUP                                            AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


AMA process at both the socio-economic level and at the level of lice control for the aquaculture
and freshwater sectors of the Scottish Salmon industry

41.    Both these elements will be important in the bid for continued funded funding of the
TWG Programme in spending round 07. One additional research project, currently underway
with MHS, address the need for adjuncts or alternative therapies for lice control, which TWG has
agreed in principle to part-fund.

Concluding remarks
42.     The Chairman thanked Members and those who had given presentations. A lot of ground
had been covered in exploring important strategic areas of sea lice, relocation and restoration. It
will be important to draw together the increasing scientific understanding and the policy which
this underpins. A paper should be produced to articulate the strategic future direction of the
TWG Programme as a supporting document for the bid for continued funding. This will be
circulated to members for input in due course.                               Action Secretariat

43.     Seymour Monro expressed the concern that controlling escapes should be considered as
the top priority for the TWG and unless addressed effectively there would be little point in
conducting restoration work in many areas. Alex Adrian reminded the group that the issue of
escapes aside, the remaining priority for TWG was to continue building consensus and reaching
agreement on AMAs.

AOB
Fish Farm Planning and Development
44.    Andrew Wallace had written to David Wilson expressing concerns about the perceived
linkage of TWG with fish farm planning applications. James Bromham informed members that
previous advice from SEERAD had been that it was not reasonable to require a signed AMA as a
condition of a Crown Estate Sea Bed lease as this would tie a voluntary agreement to a formal
process. On occasions where Highland Council had in the past recommended having a signed
AMA as a condition it had been put in place at the request of the wild fisheries interests.

45.     Members agreed that the advice to local authorities should now be revised to explain that
an AMA could help mitigate environmental impact but it should not be viewed as a mechanism
to remove all risk nor could it be a statutory requirement. The Chairman will write to Local
authority Chief Executives on behalf of TWG Plenary Group to advice accordingly.
                                                            Action David Wilson & Secretariat

SSPO Updates
46.     It was agreed that the regular reports from RDOs served a very useful function and that
these should be given more prominence on future Plenary Group meetings. Members were
pleased to accept the offer from Sid Patten to provide the Group with a similar update on the
SSPO‟s TWG-related activities at the next meeting.           Action Sid Patten and Secretariat

Date of next meeting
47.    The Chairman proposed February 2008 for the next meeting of the Group. The
Secretariat will trawl for availability.                               Action Secretariat


TWG Secretariat August 2007
TWG PLENARY GROUP                             AGREED MINUTE 19 July 2007


Annex 1 Attendees:

   1. David Wilson SEERAD
   2. David Ford
   3. Andrew Wallace ADSFB
   4. John Webster SSPO
   5. Sid Patten SSPO
   6. Seymour Monro AST
   7. Ronnie Picken SANA
   8. James Bromham Highland Council
   9. Iain Sutherland HIE
   10. Alex Adrian Crown Estate
   11. Jane Wright RAFTS
   12. Anne Marie MacIver Western Isles RDO
   13. Rebecca Dean Skye RDO
   14. Ron Stagg FRS

				
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Description: TWG Plenary Group Meeting, 30 November