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New strategy to double size of Scotland's 1.8 billion aquaculture sector

Alice Mitchell
28 October 2016, at 1:00am

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

Launched 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.

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.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Rural Affairs, Fergus Ewing, said: “Aquaculture is one of our real economic success stories of recent years... 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.

“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.”