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Aquaculture. Phil Thomas. Initial Points to Note. Aquaculture is very different from fisheries and is much closer to agriculture. It is aquatic ‘livestock production’; in tank facilities, rivers, lochs and in the sea. Aquaculture is not a single sector.

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Phil Thomas

Initial points to note
Initial Points to Note

  • Aquaculture is very different from fisheries and is much closer to agriculture.

  • It is aquatic ‘livestock production’; in tank facilities, rivers, lochs and in the sea.

  • Aquaculture is not a single sector.

  • Production species vary – within finfish and shellfish categories.

  • Freshwater and sea-farm production; for salmon both.

  • Production systems vary between and within species.

  • Europe – Mussels, oysters, other shellfish: carp, eels, bass, bream, Arctic char, brown trout, sea trout, rainbowtrout, cod, halibut, turbot, Atlantic salmon.

  • Scotland – main production is Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and mussels.


Information on Mussels Use

Value at First Sale

  • 90% sales to UK

  • 10% export sales

  • 35% fresh product

  • 65% added value product

Data 2011

Significant scope for expansion – increase by 100% by 2020 is National

Marine Plan Target. Some expansion will be integrated multi-trophic

aquaculture, involving salmon + mussels + seaweed. Two pilot

studies are already in progress.


Comparative Data 2008


  • Trout farming is UK activity rather than ‘Scottish’

  • Scotland produces about 5o% UK output, ca £14M per annum.

  • 15% (30% UK) live sales for stocking

  • Of food sales - 95% into the UK market

  • 85-90% fresh/chilled

  • 10-15% value added product

  • Perceived opportunities in large trout – like salmon


Comparative data 2008

Technology development
Technology Development

After Hanlon

Plastic Pens

(After, Chopin, 2010)

Atlantic salmon
Atlantic Salmon

Current Salmon production 157,000 tonnes. Value £540M at farm gate.

National Marine Plan target is 220k tonnes by 2020


Food chain

Tradition Model



Distributor or






Retailer or

Food Service









Salmon-chain Model

1. In the salmon-chain there has been increased vertical integration both from the

primary producers down the chain and for added value processors up the chain.

2. Similar integrative effects have been created in some cases through strategic

alliances between sectors.

3. Salmon sells in a global market. Because Scottish salmon is the leading premium

product, balance of home use, exports and imports is potentially dynamic and price

and supply sensitive.


  • 83% fresh/chilled

  • 12% frozen

  • 5% smoked

  • Over 60 value-added products and formats on the market

Swot analysis on scottish aquaculture
SWOT Analysis on Scottish Aquaculture


  • Most developed aquaculture in UK

  • Best water quality in UK

  • Traditional quality branding

  • Leading EU-salmon

  • Leading UK-trout

  • Supplier of high-quality shellfish


  • Strong demands and growth in demand for products (salmon and shellfish particularly)

  • Potential for substantial increases in production

  • Good market access and market penetration (salmon in particular)


  • Failure to achieve ‘better regulation’ in planning , licensing and regulation.

  • Some sectors require further development (shellfish)

  • Essential investment is variable between sectors


  • Pr0active objectors to aquaculture

  • Failure to maintain investor confidence and so failure to develop

  • Failure to be competitive with imports (varies by sector)

  • Prolonged national economic stagnation

Scottish aquaculture strategy
Scottish Aquaculture Strategy

Our shared vision is that Scotland will have a

sustainable, diverse, competitive and economically

viable aquaculture industry of which its people can

be justifiably proud. It will deliver high quality

healthy food to consumers at home and abroad

and social and economic benefits to communities,

particularly in rural and remote areas.

Scottish aquaculture strategy a fresh start
‘Scottish Aquaculture Strategy: A Fresh Start’

Strategic themes and Working Groups:

  • Healthier fish and shellfish (Reported)

  • Improved systems for licensing aquaculture developments (ISLAD)(ongoing)

  • Improved containment (ongoing)

  • Better marketing and improved image (actions; but in abeyance)

  • Improved access to finance (in abeyance)

  • Shellfish Forum (some ongoing)

Planning reform for aquaculture
Planning Reform for Aquaculture

Joint Initiative – Supported by

Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and

Sustainable Growth and Minister for Environment

DPRFA2 sets out what each party will continue

to do and how they will work together to refine the

planning system for aquaculture. The benefits from continuing to improve efficiency in the planning system will -----


5 Local Authorities

Marine Scotland

Marine Scotland Science





Issues for aquaculture
Issues for Aquaculture

  • Further development of salmon Production – more farms

  • Further development and refocusing of trout

  • Development, including structural development, for shellfish.

    Ongoing Activities

  • Demand for salmon is high but prices have reduced substantially. Not sufficient Scottish production to open up major new markets. Industry heavily engaged in ongoing technical developments and communication strategies.

  • Trout – portion size trout static and margins low. New initiatives in large trout.

  • Mussels – industry continues to grow steadily, but new sites problematic. IMTA under test, also cross-sector initiatives.

Challenges to aquaculture development
Challenges to Aquaculture Development

  • Difficult planning development environment. Finfish sites always challenging, because of anti-farming campaigners.

  • Vast proportion of farm sites still stuck in the 2007 process of transference into planning system . (Audit & Review).

  • ‘’SEPA now routinely objects to proposed shellfish sites’’

  • Current Marine Scotland Aquaculture and Fisheries Bill proposals are regarded as disproportionate and barriers to progress.

  • Marine Scotland is widely considered to be failing to address its economic/business development remit. It is regarded as having no aquaculture ‘champions’ and is widely held in low regard. SDI regarded as very helpful.

Public interest in aquaculture cragg ross dawson overview

  • The general impression of Scottish aquaculture seems positive:

    • consumers are generally satisfied with the product

    • ignorance of and reservations about it are not off-putting

    • retailers have sufficient confidence in it to use it as a major source

    • NGOs query specific issues but not the general necessity

  • Key questions are:

    • whether to do more to promote and inform people about aquaculture

    • if so, what to say about it

Public Interest in Aquaculture Cragg Ross Dawson: Overview