A Fresh Start: The renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture

A Fresh Start: The renewed strategic framework for scottish aquaculture


"We want industry to operate in optimal locations, with access to good growing waters, providing jobs in local communities and acting responsibly, respectful of environmental considerations and the needs of other stakeholders"

Our Shared Vision

Scotland should have sustainable, growing, diverse, market-led and profitable farmed fish and shellfish industries, which promote best practice and provide significant economic and social benefits for their people, while respecting the marine and freshwater environment. The industries will contribute to the overall vision for Scotland's marine environment of "clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas managed to meet the long-term needs of nature and people".

Sustainable Growth

The aquaculture industry is ambitious to grow but growth must be sustainable. Growth must be within the carrying capacity of the aquatic environment and balanced against the needs of others.

Economic principle: Farmed fish and shellfish industries should be able to fulfil their ambitions for growth, be market-led with a focus on quality leading to improved economic returns for the industry and greater market stability.

Environmental principle: Farmed fish and shellfish industries should act as a good neighbour by minimising risks to biodiversity and impact on the environment and other aquatic activities. Growth should be within the carrying capacity of the environment.

Social principle: Farmed fish and shellfish industries should underpin strong local communities and provide benefits to those


The Ministerial Working Group on Aquaculture ( MWGA)

The group was established in 2002 to develop and manage A Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture, published in 2003. MWGA has been chaired by the Minister for Environment and comprises representatives of the aquaculture industry and its stakeholders. The role and membership of MWGA will be refocused with a smaller Management Group, chaired by the Minister, with an overarching role to review progress and reprioritise actions, with champions driving progress. This more focused group will be supported by a wider Aquaculture Forum, to meet annually and feed in the views of other interested parties.


Regulation should be proportionate and fit for purpose; be responsive to the needs of the farmed fish and shellfish industries without compromising the aquatic environment or interests of other stakeholders; and decision-making should be efficient, fair, transparent and inclusive. Good management, adherence to agreed codes of good practice and stakeholder engagement are important for the sustainability of the aquaculture industry.


Policy development will be underpinned by robust and sound science; research which makes best use of the Marine Scotland science review process and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum ( SARF).

Assimilative Carrying Capacity

Aquaculture development must be within the assimilative carrying capacity of the water body in which it is situated. It is important to demonstrate that water bodies are able to absorb the waste products associated with aquaculture without harming the marine or freshwater ecosystem. This process underpins Marine Scotland's Locational Guidelines for Aquaculture as well as advances in water body scale modelling that are currently under development. Such an approach is also consistent with the Water Framework Directive and the ecosystem approach required by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA)

The draft renewed Strategic Framework for Scottish Aquaculture was subject to a preliminary screening process and as a result is not considered to be a plan or programme as defined by the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005. However, it is likely that some of the outputs identified and actioned through the Framework will have environmental effects and will require Environmental Assessment under the Act.

Regulatory Impact Assessment ( RIA)

As this is a strategic framework, a Regulatory Impact Assessment is not necessary. However, any significant Marine Scotland actions or policy changes resulting from the framework will require RIA.


Progressing equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone is able to participate and everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We believe that opportunities in aquaculture should not be denied to anyone because of their race or ethnicity, gender, marital or civil partnership status, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation. An equality impact assessment has been conducted by the Scottish Government.

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