Aquaculture vital to rural Scotland claims report – Fishfarmer Magazine

Aquaculture vital to rural Scotland claims report23 May, 2014 –

THE Scottish aquaculture industry ‘provides considerable benefits for fragile economic areas’, according to an independent report.

The report commissioned by Marine Scotland and the Highlands and Islands Enterprise has been published by Imani and SRSL.

The economic benefits from the industry are wide ranging and are felt across Scotland including areas that are not traditionally associated with it such as the Central Belt.

The report estimates that if the 2020 industry production target of 223,000 tonnes is met it could have a turn-over value of £2 billion to the Scottish economy and support 10,000 jobs.

Other findings include:

  • Direct production alone contributed a turn-over of at least £550 million to the Scottish economy and 2,800 jobs in 2012
  • Including added income across the country the industry is currently estimated to contribute a turn-over of £1.4 billion and 8,000 jobs in Scotland
  • Significant improvements have been made to the environmental impact of the industry and compares well with other animal production industries
  • Quality and high value is Scottish aquaculture’s trump card

The report’s main findings were presented early today at the Ministerial Group for Sustainable Aquaculture (MGSA), comprising industry and other key aquaculture stakeholders.

The MGSA was established in May 2013 to facilitate industry to achieve their 2020 sustainable growth targets with due regard to the marine environment as set out in the Scottish Marine Plan consultation in 2013.

The Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: ‘The aquaculture industry provides much needed jobs and security in many remote areas of Scotland.

‘This report highlights how important this is for rural communities but also shows how the benefits from the industry are felt right across Scotland.

‘I am pleased to note the environmental improvements made by the industry in recent years which is very important as we work together towards the 2020 targets to grow the industry with due regard for the environment.

‘Scotland has a global reputation as a land synonymous with quality, healthy and highly demanded seafood which is farmed to high standards of best practice, welfare and food hygiene in our pristine Scottish waters.

‘The demand for our high quality Scottish salmon remains high. 2013 was another record year with exports of fresh Scottish salmon worth £454 million up 31 per cent in real terms.’

Charlotte Wright, HIE’s Director of Business and Sector Development, said: ‘The Highlands and Islands are home to one of Scotland’s most valuable exports – seafood.

‘Our region has the natural assets and production skills which have given Scotland’s seafood industry a worldwide reputation for quality.

‘Highlands and Islands Enterprise has supported the aquaculture industry since its inception. We welcome this report which highlights that the economic benefits which are set to grow, not only impact on some of the most remote areas of Scotland, but are felt across the country.’

Chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, Scott Landsburgh, said:

‘We welcome this latest independent report which recognises the key role salmon farming plays in driving forward the Scottish economy.

‘Scottish salmon farming already employs almost 2500 people, most whom live in remote communities of the Highlands and Islands.

‘Year on year, the industry has committed record levels of investment, benefitting many local suppliers and service providers. Investment on this scale has helped to safeguard the long term sustainability of the industry.’