SARF054:  Assessment of protocols and development of best practice contingency guidance to improve stock containment at cage and land based sites

Start Date: 01/04/2009
End Date: 01/10/2009
Main Contractor(s): Thistle Environmental Partnership
Other Sponsor(s):  


Objective 1: To identify the contributory causes of a representative number of previously reported escape incidents in Scotland and assess these from the perspective of site location / exposure, cage and net size and type, mooring specification and operations at the time to enable a more informed discussion on escapes. Note that whilst some work has been done in this regard (e.g. Scottish Government Gap Analysis, 2007), work has been insufficiently detailed to inform the debate as required (Thistle Environmental, 2008c).

Objective 2: To identify the pros and cons of finfish protocols (industry and generic codes of practice, management systems, standards and regulation) in use in Scotland and worldwide in regard to their effectiveness in generating secure containment and preventing escapes.

Objective 3: To identify the pros and cons of the operational practices of Scottish and selected Norwegian finfish farmers (and those from other countries within budgetary constraints) from the perspective of their effectiveness in regard to generating secure containment and preventing escapes.

Objective 4: To assess whether there are existing or emerging aquaculture technologies and practices from Scotland and elsewhere in the world (e.g. the SSPO's 'demonstration project') which, if adopted in Scotland, may help reduce escapes.

Objective 5: To briefly consider whether there may be existing or emerging technologies and practices from industries other than aquaculture which if adopted in Scotland may help reduce escapes.

Objective 6: To briefly reflect the current status of research into biocontainment from the perspective of its use as a practical measure for reducing the impact of escapes in Scotland.


The approach is based on assessing how well existing protocols (Codes of Practice, standards and operating practices) address the causes of finfish escape incidents and hence represent a robust approach to containment, particularly in light of the gradual move towards larger and more exposed sites in Scotland. Breaches of containment are often caused by more than one factor and generally the recording of escapes in Scotland to date has not included the secondary causes or provided sufficient detail to allow the evaluation of how effective existing and proposed containment measures (protocols and technological) are in the prevention of escape incidents. This project aims to build on the existing work that has been done in this area both within Scotland and abroad.