Currently, Scottish aquaculture concentrates on two key areas: finfish, dominated by salmon; and shellfish, predominantly mussels.

Farmed Scottish salmon
Scotland is the third largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, harvesting over 171,000 tonnes annually; 99% of which is produced by six companies.

More than 60 countries import Scottish salmon, making it Scotland’s number one food export. It was also the first non-French food product to be awarded the coveted Label Rouge.

Scottish mussels
Every year, Scotland produces in excess of 8,000 tonnes of mussels – 75% of them farmed in Shetland – contributing over £10.1m to the economy and supporting hundreds of jobs.

The global context
The FAO, a United Nations agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger, estimates that the world population will grow from 7.5 billion to 9.7 billion by 2050. That’s an increase of almost one third.

The challenge will be producing enough food for everyone. Fish and shellfish have a core role to play providing an important, not to mention resource-efficient, source of protein.

Wild fish stocks however, can no longer keep up with demand. 40 years ago, they supplied 93% of all fish for human consumption. Today, they supply roughly 50% with aquaculture supplying the other 50%.

Around the world, aquaculture-producing countries are gearing up to meet the rising global demand, embarking on ambitious plans for further growth.

So too is the Scottish sector, aided by its own industry-led strategic plan, Aquaculture Growth to 2030; a new aquaculture Industry Leadership Group; and dedicated Innovation Centre.

Read more about SAIC’s role.