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Helping mussel farmers reach critical mass

20 November 2019, at 12:41pm

A new project, the conclusions of which were published today, suggest a number of ways for the Scottish shellfish aquaculture industry to evolve.

The second phase of the Shellfish Critical Mass project, run by Crown Estate Scotland and the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, focused on commercial-scale mussel farming in the Firth of Clyde and surrounding sea lochs. Key conclusions of the study include the scale needed for sites to be commercially viable; the type of locations which could support sites; and some considerations in relation to consenting.

A mussel farm on Loch Striven
A mussel farm on Loch Striven

© Janet Brown

It is hoped that the report will help the industry and the Scottish government work together to help realise the sector's potential, delivering benefits to coastal communities.

Alex Adrian, aquaculture operations manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “This is an important piece of work which we hope will provide a blueprint for how the industry can grow and develop over the coming years. Shellfish can be a real success story in Scotland and bring wider benefits to island and coastal communities, so Crown Estate Scotland want to do what we can to enable this development.”

Nick Lake, chief executive of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, said: "The importance of developing shellfish cultivation in Scotland is beginning to be recognised not only for food production and nutritional benefits, but also as a sustainable source of employment in rural communities. Scotland has real potential to develop its shellfish cultivation expertise and the Critical Mass Study indicates where opportunities lie for further developments.

The full report can be accessed here.