Publication - Progress report

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report

Published: 19 Aug 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

This report provides Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA) for each possible NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

Planning Scotland's Seas: 2013 - The Scottish Marine Protected Area Project – Developing the Evidence Base tor Impact Assessments and the Sustainability Appraisal Final Report
C.2 Aquaculture - Finfish

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.2 Aquaculture - Finfish

C.2.1 Introduction

This appendix provides an overview of existing and potential future activity for the finfish aquaculture subsector in Scotland and outlines the methods used to assess the impacts of potential MPAs on this subsector.

C.2.2 Sector Definition

Finfish aquaculture relates to the production of marine finfish species within aquaculture installations for both food and non-food purposes.

C.2.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C.2.1.

Table C2.1 Finfish information sources

Scale Information Available Date Source
Scotland Production and turnover 2005-2009 2005-2009 Baxter et al (2011)
Scotland Scottish fish farm production survey 2009 Marine Scotland (2009)
UK Future trends 2006+ Wilding et al (2006)
Regional Economic value and trends 2010 Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (2010)
Regional Pending finfish aquaculture sites 2013
Scotland Finfish aquaculture locations 2013 Aquadat database Marine Scotland 2013

C.2.3.1 Location and intensity of activity

Marine finfish aquaculture sites in Scotland are currently situated in coastal areas within a few miles of the shore with no sites found further offshore. Most sites are usually situated in sheltered, semi-enclosed sea lochs and voes (sea-inlets). Finfish production sites are mostly distributed all along the West coast including the Hebrides and Northern Isles, see Figure C2.

In 2011, 254 of 535 approved salmon farms, and 33 rainbow trout farms in Scotland were active. Finfish aquaculture in Scotland is dominated by the farming of Atlantic salmon, although the production of rainbow trout significantly contributes to the industry. Other species of interest include brown trout, Arctic charr, cod and halibut, although production of these species has generally decreased in recent years (Marine Scotland, 2009). Behind Norway and Chile, Scotland is the world's third largest producer of Atlantic salmon, producing over 158,000 tonnes in 2011. In the same year, 4,619 tonnes of rainbow trout were produced. Scottish exports of farmed salmon have shown an increasing trend in recent years, rising to 60,599 tonnes in 2010 (Jan-Oct) (Marine Scotland, 2012). There are three halibut producers, one onshore, one cages farm at loch Melfort and one tank farm on Gigha.

C.2.3.2 Economic value and employment

Aquaculture in Scotland helps encourage sustainable economic growth in many coastal and rural communities in the Islands and Highlands.

In 2009, finfish aquaculture had a total turnover greater than £400m p.a. (at farm gate prices) with the principal contributions comprising Atlantic salmon (£412m), rainbow and brown trout (£6m) and halibut (£0.5m). Farmed salmon exports are valued at £285m annually, and exports from aquaculture make up Scotland's largest food export (Baxter et al, 2011).

Marine Scotland (2011) give total employment figures within farmed finfish production during 2011of 1,174. These figures refer specifically to fish production and do not include the associated processing and marketing activities. The total number of staff directly employed by SSPO (Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation) member companies in 2011 is reported as 2,124, an increase of 13% compared to the previous year. These staffing figures are inclusive of farming, processing, sales and marketing, logistics, finance and environmental management (SSPO, 2012).

Gross pay by SSPO member companies in 2011 amounted to £53.7 million, 92% of which was paid to employees in remote, rural communities, and a total of £47.6 million of capital was invested in Highland and Island communities. Between 2006-2011 capital investment by SSPO member companies amounted to £205 million.

C.2.3.3 Future trends

Aquaculture continues to be the world's fastest-growing animal-food-producing sector. In the period 1970-2008, the production of food fish from aquaculture increased at an average annual rate of 8.3 percent and is set to overtake capture fisheries as a source of food fish (FAO, 2010; Commission of the European Communities, 2009). The global demand for seafood, coupled with the need to replace land-based sources suffering from climate change and the current health of the world's wild fish stocks, has seen an increased demand for Scottish production (Baxter et al. 2011).

Despite an overall decrease in rainbow trout production from 2008-2011, the immediate prospects for Scottish finfish aquaculture overall are good. The Scottish Government (2010) predicted that the opportunity for sustainable growth in the next five years for salmon may equate to an ex farm value of £152 million and a potential of 400 new jobs, partly due to an increased worldwide demand due to the collapse of Chilean salmon stocks. The salmon production industry in Scotland has outlined a plan to increase annual production to 210,000 tonnes by 2020, and in 2011 the SSPO reported that 86% of its companies planned to expand their business in the next five years, with 272 new jobs already created in 2011 (SSPO, 2012). A 2010 agreement to open the Chinese markets to Scottish salmon offers opportunity for further expansion of salmon exports. Scottish Development International have pledged to support Scotland's salmon industry in reaching targets set by the Scottish Government to increase salmon exports by 50% by 2017 (SSPO, 2010). The Scottish Government has stated its support for the ambitions of the aquaculture sector to increase production of farmed fish by 50 per cent by 2020 compared to 2009 [26] . This target implies fin fish production in the order of 230,000 tonnes, up from 150,000 tonnes in 2009.

Emerging aquaculture species such as tilapia, barramundi, bass and bream may also increase the size of the UK finfish aquaculture market ( Defra, 2008). Cod, haddock and halibut farming (which are currently only farmed on a relatively small scale) are also predicted to grow (Pugh, 2008). However, cod farming is now seen as a less attractive option due to recent increases in North Sea cod catch quotas. 'No Catch', Britain's only supplier of sustainable organic cod, based on the Shetland Isles, went into administration in early 2008. Due to a shortage of available investment there is now no commercial cod production and only three halibut producers in Scotland, despite reports from the British Marine Finfish Association that there is potential to increase halibut production. A number of aquaculture businesses are currently considering plans for the production of wrasse as a sea-lice control within salmon farms.

C.2.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

There is likely to be continued growth in the finfish aquaculture sector in the future with a target of achieving 50% growth by 2020 compared to 2009. However, the location, timing and intensity of such development remain uncertain. It is likely that there will be some development further offshore. Information on current marine fish farm planning applications in or adjacent to MPA proposals was obtained from relevant planning authorities - 2 applications were identified as being within or adjacent to MPA proposals - but it is recognised that this only provides an indication of development in the short-term. SSPO has indicated that around 12 applications for new marine fish farms and 9 applications for extension of existing marine fish farms may be brought forward within MPA proposals over the next five years but the locations of these sites cannot be disclosed for reasons of commercial confidentiality (J. Smith, SSPO, pers. comm.). The information on potential future applications therefore cannot be used to inform estimates of costs for individual MPA proposals, but has been used to inform estimates of potential cost impacts at a national level, assuming that the rate of future development within proposed MPAs identified by SSPO is sufficient to contribute to the achievement of the 2020 target.

From time to time, fish farms may need to apply for new CAR licences for the use of alternative therapeutants. This occurs roughly every 5 to 10 years (H. Macleod, SEPA, pers. comm.). Depending on the formulation of the new therapeutant, this may require minor or more detailed consideration within the CAR assessment process. For the purposes of this assessment, it has been assumed that fish farms will require detailed consideration of a CAR licence application once every 10 years.

C.2.5 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

The principal impacts to potential Nature Conservation MPA features from finfish aquaculture relate to habitat damage as a result of organic enrichment/sediment deposition. The discharge of therapeutants poses a risk to water quality and sensitive fauna in the vicinity of releases. Microbial pathogens may be introduced to the environment, and further contamination of the water column may occur with the application of industrial pesticides to target species. ( JNCC & NE, 2011). Finfish aquaculture infrastructure may cause habitat damage (anchors and mooring chains) and structures present low-scale barriers for mobile species, as well as a risk of death or injury by collision. Nutrient enrichment may occur in the vicinity of finfish farms but there is no evidence that this has led to eutrophication. Installations may also provide suitable surfaces for colonization by invasive non-indigenous species (INS) potentially supporting the wider spread of INS.

C.2.6 Assumptions on Cost Impacts for Scenarios

It is assumed that the impact of new marine fish farm activities on MPA features will be managed under the planning system and CAR licensing system. Two scenarios ('lower' and 'upper') have been developed to capture the possible costs of potential MPAs to the finfish aquaculture sector. These scenarios include potential costs associated with additional assessments required to inform decisions on planning and CAR licence applications and associated survey requirements.

It has been assumed that there will be no review of existing consents or permissions, although where existing fish farms apply for planning permission for extensions or apply for new CAR licences, these applications will be considered against the conservation objectives for features for which MPAs may have been designated.

It has not been possible to identify potential future development at site level - instead, a national assessment has been carried out based on assumptions about the number of future planning applications within or adjacent to proposed MPAs. It has not been possible to estimate the cost impact of potential additional mitigation measures for new planning applications for individual sites, because the location of such applications is not available. The potential requirement for mitigation measures has been described qualitatively at national level.

An intermediate ('best') estimate for each site has been based on SNH current views on management options and judgements made by the study team. The assumptions do not pre-judge any future site-specific licensing decisions. After MPA designation, the management of activities in MPAs will be decided on a site-by-site basis and may differ from the assumptions in this assessment.

Management measures applied under the lower and upper scenarios are detailed below. Specific management measure assumptions for each scenario (including the intermediate scenario) are defined in the MPA Site Reports (Table 4, Appendix E).

Lower Scenario

  • Additional costs will be incurred for new site licence applications in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas;
  • Additional costs will be incurred for CAR licence applications for existing and new installations (therapeutant licences) in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas;
  • Mitigation measures may be required for non- OSPAR/BAP features ranging from:
    ˉ No mitigation required for existing sites operating within the limits of an existing planning permission;
    ˉ No additional mitigation required for new application/extended sites beyond existing good practice;
    ˉ Restrictions on tonnages for new application/extended sites, enhanced rotation policies; and
    ˉ Refusal of planning permission.

Upper Scenario

  • Additional costs will be incurred for new site planning applications in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas;
  • Additional costs will be incurred for CAR licence applications for existing and new installations in assessing potential impacts to MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas;
  • Additional survey costs will be incurred to inform new planning applications (Baseline visual survey or extended survey) (based on SEPA, 2008);
  • Additional survey costs will be incurred to inform CAR licence applications for existing installations where these installations are located within the MPA (Baseline visual survey or extended survey) (based on SEPA, 2008);
  • Mitigation measures may be required for some OSPAR/BAP features for which adequate protection is not currently achieved [27] and all non- OSPAR/BAP features ranging from:
    ˉ No mitigation required for existing sites operating within the limits of an existing planning permission;
    ˉ Restrictions on tonnages for new application/extended sites, enhanced rotation policies;
    ˉ Restrictions on therapeutant use;
    ˉ Use of top net/change in type of top net in areas protected for black guillemot; and
    ˉ Refusal of planning permission.

C.2.7 Assessment Methods

Additional Licensing Costs

Where required, it is assumed that the additional costs will be as follows:

  • Additional assessment costs for planning application - £5k per planning application. In the absence of information on the location of future applications, an assessment of potential cost impacts has been presented at a national level;
  • Additional assessment costs for CAR licence - £500 per licence application incurred once every 10 years (assumed to be in 2019 and 2029 for all installations);
  • Additional baseline visual survey costs - £1.6k per planning application or CAR licence application (extended drop down camera survey) (based on SSPO, pers. comm.)

Assessment of Costs Associated with New Planning Applications at National Level

It has been assumed that 21 planning applications (new installations or extensions to existing installations) will be submitted at a national level every 5 years within or adjacent to proposed MPAs. These applications will require additional assessment of the potential impacts to MPA features together with an extended visual survey. The additional assessment and survey costs will fall in 2017, 2022, 2027 and 2032.

Potential requirements for mitigation measures have been described qualitatively as it is not possible to determine specific requirements in the absence of information on the location of future development.

Cost of Uncertainty and Delays

The designation of NC MPAs has the potential to increase the time taken to determine planning or CAR licence applications and to negatively affect investor confidence. It has not been possible to quantify these potential impacts.

C.2.8 Limitations

  • The level and location of future planning applications and applications for CAR licences is uncertain; and
  • Site specific assessment for future planning applications and possible mitigation measures has not been possible.

C.2.9 References

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh.

Commission of the European Communities, 2009. Building a sustainable future for aquaculture: A new impetus for the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture Defra, 2008. The United Kingdom operational program for the European Fisheries Fund (2007-2013).

FAO, 2010. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture.

JNCC and NE, 2011. General advice on assessing potential impacts of and mitigation for human activities on MCZ features, using existing regulation and legislation. Advice from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural England to the Regional MCZ Projects. June 2011. 107pp.

Marine Scotland, 2009. Scottish Fish Farms Annual Production Survey, 2009.

Marine Scotland, 2011. Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics 2010. Published by Marine Scotland, The Scottish Government, September 2011 DPPAS11957 (08/11). 92pp

Marine Scotland 2012. Report to the Scottish Parliament on Progress to Identify a Scottish Network of Marine Protected Areas. The Scottish Government, December 2012 DPPAS13722 (12/12). 75pp.

Pugh, D. 2008. Socio-economic indicators of marine-related activities in the UK economy. The Crown Estate

Scottish Environment Protection Agency, 2008. Regulation and monitoring of marine cage fish farming in Scotland - a procedures manual. Annex F. Seabed Monitoring and Assessment, September 2008.

Scottish Government, 2010. Delivering Planning Reform for Aquaculture

SSPO, 2010. Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation Annual Report. Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation Limited. 12pp.

SSPO 2012. Scottish Salmon Farming. Industry Research Report. Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation Limited, April 2012. 12pp.