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Fish Containment

5996952827_dd8bde1857_oOn the 20th of February 2014 the Containment Working Group (CWG) met at  Norton House in Edinburgh. This committee was established by the Scottish Government three years ago in response to concerns regarding farmed fish containment failures which had been on the increase in Scotland. The development of regulations to minimise the incidence of farmed fish escaping has been their remit, and already a major reduction has been achieved.

Martyn Haines of Pisces Learning Innovations joined the meeting  to update the group regarding recent progress with the development of a ‘stand alone’ qualification in ‘pen farmed’ fish containment. This work was commissioned by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in response to a request made by Steve Bracken, senior manager of Marine Harvest and current chair of the CWG. The Group has defined a twin prong approach. Firstly the establishment of Scottish Technical Standards (STS) for equipment, such as cages, mooring systems and nets, followed by the development of fish containment awareness and competence within the aquaculture industry, from fish husbandry to senior management level .

Following a discussion on the aims of the new qualification it was agreed to circulate a draft unit for comment by the CWG, prior to seeking SQA approval. Future work based learning delivery systems for fish containment courses were discussed, highlighting the importance of effective assessment. This new qualification will require aquaculture operatives to demonstrate their practical  competence with regard to fish containment.  Hence the value of a quality assured assessment process that can provide reliable evidence of competence, helping companies to comply with the emerging Scottish Technical Standards.

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