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.3 Aquaculture - Shellfish

358 page PDF

3.8 MB

C.3 Aquaculture - Shellfish

C.3.1 Introduction

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

C.3.2 Sub-sector Definition

Shellfish aquaculture relates to the production of marine shellfish within aquaculture installations excluding cultivated shellfish beds which are covered under commercial fishing. It includes long-line cultivation of mussels and oyster cultivation on shore.

C.3.3 Overview of Existing Activity

A list of sources to inform the writing of this baseline is provided in Table C.3.1.

Table C3.1 Shellfish information sources

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

C.3.3.1 Location and intensity of activity

Marine shellfish 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 also situated in sheltered, semi-enclosed sea lochs and voes (sea-inlets) and are distributed all along the West coast including the Hebrides and around Shetland with few sites located on the East coast, see Figure C3.

Shellfish aquaculture in Scotland is dominated by the production of mussels and Pacific oysters, although native oysters, scallops and Queen scallops are also produced on smaller scales. In 2011, shellfish aquaculture in Scotland produced 6,996 tonnes of mussel and 251 tonnes of Pacific oysters. Production of native oysters amounted to 28 tonnes, while scallop production amounted to 10 tonnes in total (1 tonne Queen scallop; 9 tonnes scallops). Much of the mussel production in Scotland is located in Shetland, which accounts for 65% of total mussel production. The production of Pacific oysters is mostly limited to the Strathclyde region; producing around 84% of Scotland's total. In 2011, there were 335 active shellfish aquaculture businesses in Scotland, operating 335 sites, of which 161 were producing shellfish for the market.

Within Scotland only research scale developments into seaweed farms are currently being planned, although small scale activity does take place along the West coast where brown, red and green seaweeds are all harvested.

C.3.3.2 Economic value and employment

In 2011 the total value of shellfish aquaculture in Scotland at first sale was estimated at £9.8 million, an increase over the value of £8.3 million estimated during 2010. Mussel cultivation contributed the most to the value of the sector during 2011; valued at £8.3 million, while Pacific oysters amounted to £1.25 million; native oysters £0.14 million; scallops £0.09 million and Queen scallops £0.003 million.

The Scottish shellfish cultivation industry employed a total of 343 people in 2011, a decrease of 14% from 2010, which had shown an increase in employment from 2009. This decrease in the number of people holding jobs in the sector is attributed to the reduced number of authorised shellfish businesses in 2011 (Marine Scotland, 2011).

C.3.3.3 Future trends

Scotland is well positioned to contribute to continued growth in shellfish aquaculture within the EU, in line with the EU Aquaculture Strategy. In the 2009 European Fisheries Fund awards, grants to the mussel sector were made which could alone lead to a further increase of more than 2,000 tonnes of production (Baxter et al. 2011). A decline in Dutch mussel production may also contribute to an expansion of the Scottish industry, which has the potential to double its production by 2020 to 160,000 tonnes without having a significant impact on overall market supply and avoiding a reduction in the market value (Marine Scotland, 2011).

The Scottish Government has stated its support for the ambitions of the aquaculture sector to increase production of shellfish by 100 per cent by 2020 compared to 2009 [28] . This target implies shellfish production in the order of 13,000 tonnes by 2020.

C.3.3.4 Assumptions on Future Activity

There is likely to be continued growth in the shellfish aquaculture sector in the future aimed at achieving a production level of 13,000 tonnes by 2020. However, the location, timing, nature (shellfish species) and intensity of such development remains uncertain. Information on current shellfish farm planning applications was obtained from relevant planning authority planning portals (Highland, Argyll & Bute, Shetland and Western Isles Councils) - no current planning applications were identified in or adjacent to MPA proposals.

For the purposes of this assessment it was assumed that there would be 10 applications in or adjacent to MPA proposals at a national level every five years throughout the assessment period [29] . 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.

C.3.4 Potential Interactions with MPA Features

Habitat loss may occur beneath shellfish lays and the deposition of 'mussel mud' and increased sedimentation may lead to smothering, although this may be temporary until harvesting occurs. Organic enrichment can lead to increased settlement and growth of green macroalgae and changes in community composition. Shellfish lays are known to cause a decrease in species richness and the number of individuals in nearby benthic communities, with a decrease in macrofauna and an increase in meiofauna. Anchors used to fix ropes for rope-grown mussels may also cause localised abrasion of the benthic environment ( JNCC & NE, 2011). Installations may also provide suitable surfaces for colonization by invasive non-indigenous species potentially supporting the wider spread of INS.

C.3.5 Assumptions on Management Measures for Scenarios

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

It has been assumed that there will be no review of existing consents or permissions, although where existing shellfish farms apply for planning permission for extensions, 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;
  • 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 licence applications in assessing potential impacts to all MPA features within 1km of proposed licence areas);
  • Additional survey costs will be incurred to inform new licence applications;
  • Mitigation measures may be required for some OSPAR/BAP features for which adequate protection is not currently achieved [30] 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; and
    ˉ Refusal of planning permission.

C.3.6 Assessment Methods

Additional Licensing Costs

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

  • Additional assessment costs for planning application - £1k per licence application
  • Additional survey costs - £1.6k per licence application (extended drop down camera survey)

Assessment of Costs Associated with New Planning Applications at National Level

It has been assumed that 10 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 applications and to negatively affect investor confidence. It has not been possible to quantify these potential impacts.

C.3.7 Limitations

  • The level and location of future planning applications is uncertain.

C.3.8 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.

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