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New Strategy to Double Size of Scotland’s £1.8 billion Aquaculture Sector

 A group of leading businesses and organisations* in Scotland’s aquaculture industry have come together for the first time to create an ambitious new growth strategy for the sector.

 untitledLaunched today (Friday 28 October), the 2030 Aquaculture Strategy identifies key actions required to double the economic contribution of the industry from £1.8 billion in 2016, to £3.6 billion by 2030. It is estimated this will generate over 9,000 new jobs in the sector and establish Scotland as a global leader in the industry.

 Aquaculture in Scotland is diverse, from the farming of salmon and other finfish species, to the production of mussels and oysters and the harvesting of seaweed. The industry is already a real success story in Scotland – salmon is the country’s top food export – however the new strategy seeks to unleash the sector’s full potential contribution to Scotland’s economy, environment and communities.

The launch today coincides with the Scottish Government Finfish Summit being held in Fort William and the strategy, developed after industry-wide consultation, sets out key recommendations for action by both the industry itself and government. 

The recommendations cover six themes: industry leadership; regulation; innovation; skills development; investment; and infrastructure. Amidst 20 specific recommendations, three are identified as critical to the sustainable growth of the industry:

  1.       The creation of a new industry leadership group to drive alignment between industry and government in order to deliver growth
  2.       A restructure of the role of Marine Scotland - the government agency that regulates the sector - to maintain its regulatory role but to remove its industry development role
  3.       The introduction world-leading innovation sites to trial cutting-edge equipment, technology and fish health strategies.

*The Working Group that has produced the plan comprised representatives of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, Scotland Food & Drink, Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, Highland Council, as well as leading businesses in the sector: Aquascot, Gael Force Group, Ferguson Transport & Shipping and Wester Ross Salmon. 

Commenting on the strategy, Stewart Graham, Group Managing Director of Gael Force Group and co-chair of the Working Group, said:

“This new strategy reflects the industry’s ambition to drive sustainable growth and for Scotland to be a world leader in aquaculture. We have developed a roadmap to 2030 which can make a transformational impact on Scotland’s economy and our rural communities. 

“However, the real work begins now and we want to forge a new partnership between the industry, government and its agencies to unlock the full potential of sustainably farming Scotland’s seas. The creation of a new Industry Leadership Group to reflect that collaborative partnership will be a critical first step.

“The strategy must act a catalyst to drive growth throughout the aquaculture supply chain through innovation, skills development and investment, and by ensuring we have proportionate and enabling regulation which balances economic growth and environmental sustainability.”

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Rural Affairs, Fergus Ewing, said:

Aquaculture is one of our real economic success stories of recent years, with the industry on track to grow to a value of well over £2 billion annually to the Scottish economy by 2020, supporting 10,000 jobs.

“I am committed to supporting development in this key sector as part of my determination to build growth in all parts of the rural economy. I warmly welcome the Vision 2030 Group’s report which is a strong signal of business confidence and highlights the significant further potential in the sector.

“The Scottish Government will now work with the industry to consider their detailed proposals and I have agreed to establish an Industry Leadership Group to help take that forward.”

A copy of the strategy can be found here: www.foodanddrink.scot/media/78119/lr-sfd-aquaculture-doc_spread.pdf


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Contact Kathryn Mutch at Scotland Food & Drink, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,

07917 335918 (other contact details below).


Quick facts on Scottish aquaculture:

  •          Scottish salmon is the largest component of the Scottish aquaculture industry.  Approximately 170,000 tonnes are produced on farms each year. The value of export sales alone is around £450 million, making it Scotland’s top food export (and the UK’s second largest food export). In the UK, around one million meals are eaten daily with fresh salmon and one million meals a week with smoked salmon.
  •          Scottish Government statistics state that the contribution of the entire aquaculture supply chain (farming, equipment, inputs etc) to the Scottish economy is around £1.8 billion per year.
  •          Scotland is the world’s third largest producer of farmed salmon (behind Norway and Chile). However, its global market share has declined by almost a half over the past 20 years as competitors' growth has outstripped Scotland's.
  •          Scottish shellfish production (mostly mussels) is around 8,000 tonnes per annum
  •          Scottish Government figures record 8,800 jobs supported by the aquaculture sector in Scotland.
  •          The strategy forecasts by 2030 an increase in salmon production to around 350,000 tonnes per annum and, for shellfish, an increase to 21,000 tonnes.  It also forecasts a rise in jobs to around 18,000 by 2030.
  •          Aquascot - Dennis Overton, Chairman


Further contact details of Working Group:

  1. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07818 432359
  •          Gael Force Group Ltd - Stewart Graham, Managing Director
  1. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01463 229449
  •          Ferguson Transport & Shipping, Group Managing Director

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 01397 773840

  •          Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation – Julie Edgar, Head of News & PR

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 07899 875151

  •          Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre – Lesley Dougall

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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