Publication - Research and analysis

Supporting the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the UK's marine sectors

This research considers barriers to sustainable marine economy growth in Scotland and the rest of the UK with particular regard to cross sectoral barriers and market failures.

113 page PDF

1.1 MB

113 page PDF

1.1 MB

Contents
Supporting the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the UK's marine sectors
1 Executive Summary

113 page PDF

1.1 MB

1 Executive Summary

Background

In 2018, Marine Scotland recognised a need to identify whether there is scope to improve the economic growth of the UK’s marine sectors, and to understand whether the benefits of growth are naturally distributed fairly across society now and in the future. A research project “Supporting the Economic, Social and Environmental Sustainability of the UK’s Marine Sectors” was commissioned in early 2019 to review this question.

Aims and Objectives

The report aims to provide an evidence base to help guide policies to ensuring the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the UK’s marine economic sectors, including:

  • Commercial capture fishing (including sea fisheries and key inland fisheries)
  • Aquaculture (including fish and shellfish cultivation)
  • Seafood processing
  • Commercial seaweed harvesting and growing
  • Marine renewable energy
  • Oil and gas decommissioning
  • Marine tourism

The evidence collected is intended to guide policy in how best to support the sustainable growth of the different industry sectors in a strategic and streamlined way. This is required to increase understanding of the constraints and market failures facing the UK’s marine industries with respect to delivering inclusive growth, building resilient places, improving sustainability and enabling net zero emissions.

The research aims to:

A. Provide a sectoral overview and analysis of long term growth patterns for each of the marine sectors listed above, for the UK and each devolved administration (DA).

B. Identify evidence for market failures and other constraints that hinder the long term growth, wider distribution of benefits and environmental sustainability of the UK’s marine sectors.

C. Identify the existing support measures currently available to the UK’s marine sectors (including organisations delivering them).

Key Findings

The research report recognises the important role the marine economy plays in driving growth in coastal areas as well as across Scotland and the UK though wider supply chains. A number of sectors within the marine economy are in a strong position thanks to concerted efforts, favourable markets and effective government regulation and intervention. There is potential for further growth; sectors vary in levels of maturity, specific barriers faced and whether those are market failures or competitive pressures.

As well as sectoral specific barriers, the research identified a number of challenges and constraints which are shared across the marine economy, these can be summarised in the following themes:

  • Skills and workforce
  • Sustainable and shared marine natural capital
  • Infrastructure
  • Technology, data and innovation
  • Access to finance
  • Resilient communities
  • Monitoring and evidence-based decisions

These themes are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5 within the report.

Overall sector assessments based on the detailed research and analysis carried out as part of the project, are presented below.

Figure 2.2: At-a-glance sector assessment for commercial capture fishing
Business base Employment Turnover/ landing GVA Trade Impact distribution
UK ++ - ++ ++ - +
England ++ ++ ++ ++ N/A +
Northern Ireland + + + ++ N/A +
Scotland ++ - ++ ++ N/A +
Wales ++ -- ++ ++ N/A +

Key

++ Strong growth; widespread distribution of impacts

+ Weak or no growth; weak distribution of impacts

- Weak negative growth; poor distribution of impacts

-- Substantial negative growth; very poor impact distribution

N/A No data available

Figure 2.3: At-a-glance sector assessment for aquaculture
Business base Employment Turnover GVA Trade[1] Impact distribution
UK + - ++ ++ ++ -
England + -- ++ ++ N/A -
Northern Ireland + N/A + + N/A +
Scotland ++ ++ ++ ++ ++* +
Wales + - + + N/A -
Figure 2.4: At-a-glance sector assessment for seafood processing
Business base Employment Turnover* GVA Trade* Impact distribution
UK -- ++ + ++ -- -
England - ++ + ++ N/A -
Northern Ireland -- ++ -- ++ N/A -
Scotland -- + ++ ++ N/A -
Wales + + + ++ N/A --
Figure 2.7: At-a-glance sector assessment for commercial seaweed harvesting
Business base Employment Turnover GVA Trade Impact distribution
UK + N/A N/A N/A N/A +
England N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A +
Northern Ireland N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A +
Scotland N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A +
Wales N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A +
Figure 2.13: At-a-glance sector assessment for offshore renewables
Business base* Employment* Turnover GVA Trade Impact distribution
UK ++ ++ ++ ++ - +
England ++ + ++ N/A -- +
Northern Ireland + + ++ N/A + +
Scotland + ++ ++ N/A ++ +
Wales + - - N/A -- +
Figure 2.17: At-a-glance sector assessment for oil & gas decommissioning
Business base+ Employment+ Turnover* GVA Trade# Impact distribution
UK -- - ++ -- -- -
England -- -- N/A N/A N/A +
Northern Ireland - N/A N/A N/A N/A --
Scotland -- - N/A N/A N/A +
Wales - -- N/A N/A N/A --
Figure 2.20: At-a-glance sector assessment for marine tourism
Business base Employment Turnover GVA Trade Impact distribution
UK N/A + ++ ++ ++ +
England N/A + N/A N/A N/A +
Northern Ireland N/A + N/A N/A N/A +
Scotland N/A ++ ++ ++ ++ +
Wales N/A + N/A N/A N/A +

Implications

The challenges and constraints identified through this research will not be overcome by business alone, nor by government if using a solely sectoral approach. These challenges require a strategic approach from multiple areas across government, local authorities and enterprise agencies.

The economic, social, political and environmental backdrop has changed since this research was carried out. Uncertainties around EU exit remain but Covid19 has created an unprecedented shock which is not yet fully understood nor is fully behind us yet. This research report provides a strong base for guiding decisions on future funding and policy relating to the marine economy, further research and ongoing monitoring is required to understand the implications of Covid19 and the end of the transition period for EU Exit.


Contact

Email: Amy.McQueen@gov.scot