I’ve joined the Aquaculture team and taken on the REP Assessment programme, so that’s the 'Responsible Efficient Production' Assessment, which reaches out across all our farming partners for salmon and trout in the industry. There’s 37 points that we assess farms on, and we’re essentially looking for continuous improvement in everything they do – cleaner fish, salmon welfare, treatments, mortalities, workers’ rights, workers’ training, environmental compliance, sustainability… At present, I’ve been very focused on getting up to speed with the REP, working with each of our farming partners, trying to get out on site, have a look at what they’re doing, and understand how they are driving improvements.
As I get more settled into my role, I’ll begin to take on the Responsible Harvest Assessments (RHA) looking at our farming partners' harvest units. In essence, making sure the fish are living a good life and experiencing a humane and dignified death. Working with the rest of the Aquaculture team within Aquascot, the REP and RHA feeds into the Waitrose Agricultural Plan with regards to responsible farming. I’m hoping that with Ed (Ley-Wilson), Andrew (Davie) and Emily (Purvis) we can expand the REP across the entire lifestyle, from hatch to harvest; so we’ll be looking at the freshwater side of things, the transport of fish, etc.
The rest of the team are working well with the REP data. You can see how farmers are innovating, adapting, and improving. It’s amazing the level of insight the team and the company have into salmon and trout farming in Scotland.