Aquaculture feeds Scotland’s economy

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
December 30, 2009

Aquaculture is feeding Scotland’s economy, despite a challenging economic climate, according to a new report from the Scottish government.

Demonstrating a “firm foundation for growth and development,” the annual review confirmed that fish farming is “one of Scotland’s economic success stories.”

“This is further proof that Scotland’s aquaculture is in prime position to develop and grow even further,” said Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham.

As the debate on food security gains momentum across the globe, fueled by increases in food prices and a growing focus on sustainability, there is rising awareness of the potential role aquaculture could play in efficiently providing much-needed protein to British consumers.

According to the United Kingdom’s Cefas, 1 ton of feed produces almost 1 ton of fish, compared to 150 kilograms of beef, 300 kilograms of pork and 500 kilograms of chicken. Globally, aquaculture now accounts for 47 percent of all seafood consumed.

In 2007, the Scottish government estimated the farm gate value of Scotland’s farmed fish at around GBP 346 million (USD 559.6 million, EUR 389.3 million), including GBP 324 million for farmed salmon, GBP 14 million for rainbow trout and GBP 5 million for shellfish. Brown trout, sea trout, halibut and Arctic char are also farmed in Scotland.

According to the report, Atlantic salmon production is projected to increase 3.4 percent this year, with rainbow trout production set to rise as well.

“Like all sectors, difficult times lie ahead, but through initiatives such as our European Fisheries Fund and Ministerial Group on Aquaculture, I can confidently say that this government is dedicated to working with the industry to ensure its mounting success,” said Cunningham.

In terms of employment — with 1,500 direct jobs and another 4,700 downstream — fish farming feeds Scotland’s rural economy, particularly in the western and northern isles.

“I’m encouraged to see the fish farm production survey showing increased employment and diversification,” said Cunningham.

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