Scotland's Blue Economy: current status review

Describes our starting position in the transition to adopting a Blue Economy approach to marine sectors, communities, and the environment. It provides us with the foundation to consider how we can track our progress and determine if significant and lasting change is occurring.


1 OSPAR is the mechanism by which 15 Governments and the EU cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic, and is named after the original Oslo and Paris Conventions.

2 The following stakeholders were approached for feedback on data sources: Crown Estate Scotland; Highland and Island Enterprise; Historic Environment Scotland; Food Standards Scotland; NatureScot; Seafish; South of Scotland Enterprise; Scottish Enterprise; Scottish Environment Protection Agency; Transport Scotland.

3 More information about Scottish Marine Regions can be found on the Marine Scotland Information website.

4 The 2021 indicator will be updated (and the indicator for previous years will be recalculated) to reflect developments in international contaminant assessments, such as the OSPAR assessment for the North Sea and north-east Atlantic.

5 Gross Value Added (GVA) measures the contribution to the economy of each individual producer, industry or sector. It is the value of the amount of goods and services that have been produced, less the cost of all raw materials and energy that are used up in the production process. GVA is closely linked to the GDP, which is often a measure of the entire economy’s production value. The cost of labour is not deducted as this is a value added from the economic activity, which is not captured in GVA elsewhere in the economy (unlike packaging, ingredients or energy).

6 Gross Domestic Product (GDP): in short, the total value of goods produced and services provided. This is often used as a broad measure of a country’s overall economic performance (particularly when adjusted for inflation, ‘real’ GDP).

7 Note that during 2020-22, these figures are subject to more uncertainty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

8 Defined as having on average a 20% annual increase in turnover.

9 This uses data for VAT-registered businesses from the IDBR to track annual turnover. Note that many smaller enterprises won’t be represented (since they don’t have to register for VAT), and that there may be a lag in VAT returns.

10 This is referring to Gross Expenditure on Research and Development and includes spending by businesses, higher education, government, and private non-profits.

11 Adjusted for inflation using the GDP deflators at market prices published by HM Treasury on March 2022.

12 Note that 2020 and 2021 fisheries data for Scotland was also available at the time of writing (see Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics), but that at this time only data up to 2020 was available for global seafood production (via FAO); 2019 was chosen here as a pre-Covid base year.

13 Analysis of the Scottish Fish Farm Production Survey, Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey, and Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistics; and global seafood production data obtained from FAO.

14 Excluding production of crocodiles, alligators, whales, seals, and walruses; and splitting the UK into ‘Scotland’ and ‘the rest of the UK’.

15 Note that 2019 is used as a base year here again to remain consistent with other quoted global production figures.

16 Coastal communities refer to settlements – as per the National Records of Scotland’s definition of settlements – containing at least one data zone bordering the coast (mean high water spring).

17 See the Ocean Literacy outcome’s status review in this document for more information on the Ocean Literacy Survey.

18 Note that 2020 data for employment in marine sectors was also available at the time of writing (see Scotland's Marine Economic Statistics 2020), but that both employment and GVA were impacted by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and likely not reflective of the ‘status quo’.

19 Using the same definition for ‘coastal communities’ as in footnote 16.



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