Following anecdotal industry reports of poor spat settlement and mortality in 2010, Marine Scotland Science developed a questionnaire which was sent to all authorised aquaculture production businesses farming mussels. The results of this 2011 investigation indicated that poor spat settlement and mortality were not widespread in Scottish waters, although they had major impacts on certain individual producers. The causes were associated with environmental variables, guiding the industry to consider focused spat fall monitoring. As a result of talks between the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers, Marine Scotland policy and Marine Scotland scientists, to determine the focus of possible research and development, a spat collection question was introduced to the 2013 survey. This question focused on mussel spat collection and was presented in two parts: is this a spat collection site; if yes, was spat settlement sufficient for production purposes?
Responses were received from 235 (100%) of the sites authorised for mussel production in 2019. One hundred and twenty eight (54%) of these were spat collection sites, 41 (32%) of which reported that they had sufficient spat settlement for production purposes. To identify statistically significant trends a longer time series is required.