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Record year for Scottish shellfish farmers

31 May 2018, at 10:54am

The volume of farmed mussels and Pacific oysters produced in Scotland last year increased by 6 percent and 42 percent respectively, making for a record year for the country’s shellfish sector.

The latest Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey, which was published today, shows that 8,232 tonnes of mussels were produced for the table market, this is the highest level of mussel production recorded in Scotland, while over 5 million Pacific oyster shells were produced for the table and a further 3.8 million for on-growing. As a result, the overall value of the industry rose by 6 per cent year-on-year.

Welcoming the results of the survey, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: “These new figures show continued growth in our shellfish industry with record levels of mussels being produced and pacific oyster shell production increasing by 42% over the year.

“The sector is now worth £12.4 million, an increase of £3.5 million since 2013, which is great news for our shellfish growers and those in the supply and processing sector who rely on this world class produce.

“Scottish shellfish is one of our food and drink success stories and I am delighted to be supporting further sustainable growth of the sector through the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group.

“Since 2016 more than £6.5 million of European and Maritime Fisheries Fund awards have been invested in 30 shellfish projects which has helped businesses expand and upgrade their equipment and we are clearly seeing the benefits of this investment in the sector’s success. I will continue to call on the UK Government to clarify options for the future of this fund, to guarantee the shellfish industry will not lose out on the opportunities which a clear funding decision offers them.”

Other species

2017 also saw an increase in both queen scallop production (155,000 to 273,000 shells) and scallop production (35,000 to 47,000 shells) since 2016, while there was a small decrease in the production of native oysters – from 201,000 to 200,000 shells.

Employment levels increased by 4 per cent from the previous year, with 328 full, part-time and casual staff being employed during 2017.

Senior Editor at The Fish Site
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