AN independent review into the regulation of fish farms is underway, the Scottish Government has said.

Professor Russel Griggs has been appointed to lead the first phase of the review, which aims to highlight what improvements can be made to the environmental, economic and community aspects of aquaculture legislation.

Critics have long raised concerns about the environmental impact of fish farms and their impact on wild salmon stocks.

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Aquaculture is a significant contributor to our rural economy, providing well paid jobs in some of Scotland’s most fragile communities and will be an essential part of our green recovery and transition to net zero.

“The industry also provides a source of home grown, nutritious low carbon protein that is enjoyed at home and abroad.

“However reports and parliamentary activity over the last few years have made clear that the regulatory landscape is contentious and there is a need for improved efficiency, effectiveness and transparency.”

“I am pleased to appoint Professor Griggs to this role as he brings extensive experience in better regulation from his role as chair of the independent Regulatory Review Group.”

Mr Griggs currently chairs South of Scotland Enterprise, the newly created economic development agency for the south of Scotland.

He also chairs the Scottish Government’s independent Regulatory Review Group, which advises and works on better regulation in Scotland.

He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2008 for services to Scottish industry.

He said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to lead this important review.

“Aquaculture plays a major role in maintaining sustainable rural communities and the economy as a whole and this review is both timely and necessary.

“The industry faces significant challenges and also has its critics, but I will approach this review with an open mind and engage with stakeholders from across the aquaculture spectrum.

“Only by doing this will we be able to deliver improvements in the regulatory landscape in the short-term and identify options for further reform in the longer term.”